Obituary for William (Bill) John Henry Wentz

Written by on April 9, 2019


William (Bill) Wentz age 101 of Kenton, died Saturday, April 6, 2019.

William was born in Hardin County on September 22, 1917 to William Monroe and Edna Lark Brooks Wentz. William is the great grandson of Daniel Wentz, who came to Hardin County from Germany in the 1850s. On May 5, 1944 William and Mary Wells Wentz were married at the Meridian St. Methodist Church in Indianapolis, Indiana. After 71 years of marriage, Mary passed away in 2015. William is survived by two sons, William Alan (Jan) Wentz of Germantown, TN, and James Ray (Mary) Wentz of Canal Winchester, OH; his grandson Alex James Wentz; and several nieces, nephews and cousins. He was preceded in death by one sister, Mabel M. Wentz Carmean, and two half-sisters, Violet I. Kearns Hiller of Hardin County, and Irene Wentz Finger of California. William attended Kenton Senior High School.


In December, 1941, William joined the U. S. Army where he initially served as part of the Defense Measures of the U.S. West Coast. He served as part of the 106th Division that moved  to Europe and was at the point of the German attack in the Battle of the Bulge in December 1944. After several days of battle William was among 7,000 troops who were surrounded and cut off from supplies, whereupon U.S. commanders were forced to surrender.

William endured four months as a Prisoner of War in Germany. He earned the Combat Infantry Badge, a Bronze Star for Meritorious Service, and a Purple Heart. He was honorably discharged from the Army in November 1945. He was a Life Member of the Disabled American Veterans, a member of Veterans of Foreign Wars, the American Legion, and Ex POW Chapter 1 in Columbus.


William was a general contractor who built or worked on many homes, businesses, churches, and farm structures throughout Hardin County and other parts of Ohio. He was justifiably proud of the work he did and enjoyed seeing how his work benefited the people of the county and Ohio.


William was a motorcyclist for nearly his entire life. He was one of the founders of the Kenton Lightning Riders and an active member of the Northwestern Ohio Motorcycle Association, and the American Motorcycle Association. He and Mary rode together into their later years and were often recognized as top riders in a variety of family events – likely numbering into the hundreds. After retirement they traveled the United States in their motor home towing their Harley-Davidson and sidecar with them. William finally stopped riding at the young age of 99.


William was a lapidary who loved finding and collecting a wide variety of stones and gems that he cut, polished and mounted into jewelry or decorative objects. He was a fisherman who enjoyed making expeditions into Canada and many states where he often took the family on extended canoe trips. He was an avid genealogical investigator and a member of the Hardin County Genealogical Society where much of his work resides today for others to build upon. Most of all, he enjoyed exploring whether it be geographically, historically, on the internet, or the library. He often combined his many hobbies to indulge in research and travel.


Viewing hours will be held Thursday April 11 from 11:00am-1:00pm, with services to begin at 1:00pm, at the SCHINDEWOLF-STOUT-CRATES FUNERAL HOME in Kenton. Burial will be at the Fulton Cemetery west of Kenton. Memorials can be directed to the Hardin County Genealogy Society, 211 W. Franklin.

St., PO Box 520, Kenton, Ohio 43326. Online condolences can shared with the family by visiting

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