Frederick D. Wessel

Master Sergeant Frederick D. Wessel, age 87, of Berlin, passed away peacefully at his home on Monday, June 19, 2017. He and his beloved wife, Donna, celebrated their 64th wedding anniversary on that day.

Fred was born November 15, 1929 in Berlin, WI, the son of Frederick L. and Cecil Hughes Wessel, who happen to be in Berlin visiting Fred’s grandparents, Frederick D. and Grace Taylor Hughes on that day. Fred was raised and educated in Meaford, Ontario, Canada, until he moved back to the United States at age 18. He worked for General Motors in Florida before Uncle Sam wanted him. Instead of being drafted into the Army, Fred enlisted in his choice, the Air Force. He served his country for over 20 years, from April 25, 1949 until August 1, 1969. During his military career, he worked as a radar radio technician troubleshooting electronic systems across the world. His service career took him to many places in the United States & internationally to Newfoundland, Guam, Taiwan, Alaska, France & Spain. He served during the Korean War, Vietnam era, and during the “Six Day” Arab-Israeli conflict, where he was a Prisoner of War escapee. Fred was exposed to Cobalt 60 in San Francisco, causing his subsequent lung cancer.

After his retirement from the Air Force, Fred worked for Remington Rand in Des Moines, IA, until moving back to Berlin in 1969. He then began another 20 year career as a telephone electronic testman for AT&T. In 1975 he became a pilot and enjoyed many trips in his own Piper Cub plane.

In Nov. 1989, Fred retired from AT&T. He and Donna lived the remainder of his life in Berlin. Fred and Donna traveled widely during these years including many visits to Los Alamos, N.M. to visit their daughter and family. His many interests included flying his plane, ice hockey, bowling and football.

Fred is survived by his beloved wife of 64 years, Donna Grace Viertel Wessel; his daughter, Dr. Paula Wessel-Schmitt and her husband, Dr. Mark Schmitt; his grandchildren, Dr. Samantha K. Schmitt and Dr. Matthew M. Schmitt; sister-in-law, Cynthia Viertel; brother-in-law, Joe Mastricola; his special cousin, Virginia (Hughes) Laper; many nieces and nephews, including Sara Sobralski and Steve Thomas (with whom he shared many jokes); his special friends and neighbors, Jodi, Curt, Zachary & Samantha Olson, George Byrne, Dan & Cathy Beier, and his telephone buddies. Fred was preceded in death by his parents; grandparents; and great-grandparents.

Graveside services will be held on Friday, June 23, 2017 at 1:30 p.m. at Welsh Cemetery, Hwy 49 north of Berlin, with Father David Greenfield officiating. Full Military Honors will follow. Arrangements have been entrusted to Barbola Funeral Chapel.