Loretto Carey Wendel

Honored by:Alvern Wendel, Edward A. Wendel, Mary Ellen Wendel Neigte How, and Julie Wendel Johnson
Brick location:PAVER:8  map

August 25, 1885-October 20, 1971. Our mother, Mrs. Alvern S. Wendel, was born Loretto Helen Carey on August 25, 1885, in Sioux City, Iowa. She attended Sioux City schools and then the University of Wisconsin, where she was an English major and a member of Gamma Phi Beta sorority. She graduated from the University in 1907. For three years she taught English and Latin at Sioux City's Central High.

On October 12, 1910, she married our father, Alvern S. Wendel. After a Western honeymoon trip they set up housekeeping on a 2300-acre farm at Bronson, southeast of Sioux City. Urban friends laughingly prophesied that the carefree, bridge-playing, green city girl would never succeed as a farm wife. Country living in 1910 was a far cry from its present counterpart! But our mother accepted the challenge matter of factly.

As we children were growing up she shared her secret for success. "When you need to know something, ask for help from an expert. If that's not possible, get a good book and look it up." Long-time farm women--the "experts" in Bronson's friendly community--helped Loretto learn about farm life. Soon she too was a veteran, a dedicated advocate for rural interests.

She and our father helped organize the Woodbury County Farm Bureau. For eight years she was chairman of the 4-H Girls' Club Committee. In 1923 she and other local women organized a free hot lunch program for Bronson school children; the plan continued for many years and was adopted by other rural communities. In 1930 she was selected as a Master Farm Homemaker by FARMER'S WIFE MAGAZINE in conjunction with the State Extension Department of Iowa.

An avid reader, she helped establish a free County Library. For many years she also served on the board of the Woodbury County Tuberculosis and Health Association. Meanwhile, she kept up her contacts with Sioux City Women's Club, Catholic Women's League, American Association of University Women, Portfolio Literary Club, and O-U Bridge Club.

Yet, we children remember Mother as usually being at home, steadfastly encouraging us in our endeavors and comforting us in our disappointments. In our younger years she was always there to hear our prayers and Sunday School lessons and to help with homework. Cooking for threshers, raising chickens and a big garden, and maintaining an orderly home were all routine tasks. Each year she filled our basement cupboards with hundreds of jars of home-canned fruits, meats, vegetables, jellies, and preserves. She often surprised city friends by contributing to luncheon parties one of the baker's-dozen varieties of blue-ribbon pickles she put up.

But each afternoon, no matter how busy, she stopped working in time to put on a pretty dress for our father's arrival for supper. Our dad spruced up, too, and our parents' friendship, respect, and love for each other painted for us a daily picture of what marriage should be. Their romance bloomed for sixty years. We children honor our mother for the priceless example she left for us to try to emulate. Truly she did what we all should do. She made the world a better place because she was here.


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"Loretto Carey
Bronson, Iowa