Jack Wendt, 79, of Baker City, died April 27, 2006, at his home after a short illness.
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His memorial service will take place Monday, May 8 at 1 p.m. at Mount Hope Cemetery. Pastor Lenny Spooner of Baker City Church of the Nazarene will officiate. At 2 p.m. there will be a gathering at the Baker City Golf Club for family and friends to remember Jack.
Jack was born March 16, 1927, in Baker City to William and Margaret Romig Wendt. He had one older brother, William (Bill), who still resides in Baker City.
Jack grew up in Baker City, attending Baker High School and graduating with the class of 1945. He was on the high school basketball and football teams. He left high school to join the Navy in March of 1945 and received an honorable discharge in April of 1946. After the service he attended Oregon State University and received a bachelor of science degree in horticulture.
Jack returned to Baker City to own and operate Baker City Floral & Seed Co., which many local residents remember as the greenhouses that were located out on Campbell Street. He loved working in the greenhouses and helping his friends and customers with their planting needs. It was there he married his first wife, Sherry Powell, and raised his family of four children: Zoe Ann, David, Robert and Jaci. They later moved to Portland and were divorced.
In Portland, Jack went to work in the wholesale floral business. It was there that he met his lifelong companion and best friend, Joan Fritz, a local florist. They were married on June 6, 1970. He took on the father role again with Joan’s two young children, Ron and Julie, whom he raised as if they were his own. Jack spent much of his spare time coaching Pony Colt baseball. He was also well-known as a referee for high school and college basketball and football. He loved being a referee and did so until his health made him unable to keep doing so.
In 1975, Jack moved his family back to Baker City to own and operate the family floral business, Wendts Floral & Arts, which later became Wendts Floral Designs. They built a beautiful home overlooking Baker Valley on Mill Creek. Besides working in the flower shop he also worked in the wholesale floral business until he retired in 1993. Wendts Floral Designs was sold in 1992.
Jack’s favorite pastimes included playing golf, listening to Rush Limbaugh and tending to his yard and beautiful flowers. Everyday you could drive past his home and see him busily puttering in his yard, which gave him so much enjoyment. He also loved spending time with his youngest grandchildren, Aubrey and Wyatt, who affectionately referred to him as “Papa.” Papa will be greatly missed by us all, we will try our best to keep everything up to his standards and know he will be watching to make sure that we do!
Survivors include his wife of 36 years, Joan Wendt; his brother, William Wendt; children and their spouses: Ron and Donna Fritz, Julie and Francis DeRoest, Zoe Ann and Bill Vineyard, David Wendt, Robert Wendt, Jaci Adams and Melody Wendt; 16 grandchildren: Aubrey and Wyatt DeRoest; Trinity Kretz; Tracy, Margie, Alex and Scott Vineyard; Zechariah, Andrew and Rebecca Wendt; James, Heath and Kirsten Adams; Jason and Mandy Lewicki; and Michele Sanborn; and one great-grandchild, Chase Sanborn; nephews, Joe Wendt and his wife, Linda, and Brian Wendt.
Jack was preceded in death by his parents, William and Margaret Wendt; and by an aunt, Gladys Phy.
Contributions in Mr. Wendt’s memory may be directed to the Oregon Trail Regional Museum. This may be done through Coles Funeral Home, 1950 Place St., Baker City, OR 97814.
Used with permission from: Baker City Herald, Baker City, Oregon, May 5, 2006
Transcribed by: Belva Ticknor