Harry “Donald” Wetzel of Beulah passed away at the Missouri Slope Nursing home on December 10, 2021, at the age of 94. We are sad but grateful for all the years we have had with our dad. Funeral services will be held at 10 a.m. (CST) 2021, Dec. 17 at St. Josephs Catholic Church in Beulah with Father Joseph Evinger officiating. Burial will follow at St. Josephs Catholic Cemetery. Visitation will be from to 5 to 7 p.m. (CST) 2021 Dec. 16 at St. Joseph’s Catholic Church, Beulah with a wake service starting at 6:30 PM.
Harry Donald Wetzel was the son of Harry Wetzel and Frances Werner, born September 8, 1927, in Zap, North Dakota. He was industrious his whole life: trapping, hunting and fishing; working as a firefighter in Idaho in his youth, enlisting in the Merchant Marines and serving until the end of WWII, teaching in a one-room high school for 2 years south of Beulah, and finally working for Montana Dakota Utilities as a lineman, followed by being the Superintendent in Beulah until his retirement in May 1988. Donald married Lenore Abbey August 13, 1949. They were married for more than 50 years. It was after wonderful caregiving he lost Lenore to cancer in 2003.
He was the rock of our family and represented what a father should be. Though rarely stern, he was always a teacher with lessons to be learned. He was especially hopeful and positive, with a “can do” attitude, whether literally raising the roof of our old house to add bedrooms or helping us with life lessons. He taught himself how to use a computer at age 70.
Family time was important. There were Dad’s movie nights with popcorn, Hershey’s candy bars and apples. It was important that the family always had a full freezer and plenty of canned garden foods as he was a product of the depression and knew what it was like to not have much food. Mom starting the gardening, but soon after Dad took over gardening on the ½ acre garden filling it with rows of corn, bean, peas, tomatoes, onions, watermelon, kohlrabi, strawberries and more. Family time also included picking Juneberries for pie, chokecherries for jelly. His back yard had his beloved apple trees where he grafted 6 varieties of apples onto one tree. Dad then moved on to beekeeping by starting three beehive colonies in his garden, gradually expanding to more than 250 colonies in 10 bee yards on farmer’s land. He was most proud of the year we gathered honey to fill 63 -55-gallon barrels which amounted to 20 ton of honey. He trapped mink each year to buy Christmas presents. We were excited when those new bikes arrived. He loved hunting for the elusive white tail buck, rooster pheasant or fishing for wonderful walleye and northern pike.
Life’s lessons included us kids helping to weed the garden, harvesting honey, pick berries, or making venison sausage. We learned that “to work hard is how you live your life”. In all of that we saw a father and grandfather who cared for his family.
When troubles came, he was there; helping to raise young grandchildren, roofing his mother-in-law’s home, helping his parents all through their lives; neighbor in town may get his snow-piled driveway cleared when he was over 80; or a townsperson might find some fresh garden vegetables at their home. He got the Senior Citizens and the Beulah High School football team to collaborate in a clothing drive for the poor. He was very involved with Civic duties: advising on the construction of the new St. Joseph’s Catholic Church, being President of the Chamber of Commerce and the Lion’s Club and a member of Knights of Columbus.
The important things were his love of family and his quiet faith in God. For this we can only say as he reaches heaven, as Jesus spoke in Matthew 25:21: His master replied, Well done, good and faithful servant! Come and share your master’s happiness!”
Donald is survived with great love by his children Kay (Bryce) Koslan, Barry (Dee Dee) Wetzel, Kim (Vicki) Wetzel, Marsha (Carey) Johnson, Beth (Jeri) Jankowski.
Grandchildren: Josh Smith and Sarah Smith (Andrew IV) Scopel; Michael (Jennifer) Wetzel, Cory (Medora) Wetzel and Erin Wetzel; Cole, Oran and Kara Wetzel; Briana (Jordan) Holle, Ciara, Trevor and Amber Johnson; Tyson Jankowski and Haley (Earl) Stanley.
Great grandchildren: Andrew V, Thalia and Kinsley Scopel; Raeyne Cornett, Bentley, Kennedy, and Teagen Wetzel; Milo and Daisy Holle; Payton and Rylan Jankowski; Keira, Aaleah, Eden, Xander, Morgan and Ferryn Stanley.
Donald was preceded in death by his wife Lenore, parents Harry and Frances Wetzel and brothers Dale, Robert and James Wetzel.
Donald saw in a “mirror dimly”, “part, as he was fully known” by God, but “now will also fully know God.” 1 Corinthians 13:12
In lieu of flowers please send memorials to St. Josephs Catholic Church, Beulah.
Arrangements are conducted by Barbot Funeral Home, Beulah and Hazen.
To send flowers to the family or plant a tree in memory of Harry Donald Wetzel, please visit our floral store.