William “Bill” Wenger 1936-2024

Willam “Bill” Wenger was born April 22, 1936, on the family farm 14 miles northeast of Yuma, Colorado to William and Mary Catherine (Zulauf) Wenger. His parents were immigrants from Switzerland. He passed away February 2, 2024, at the age of 87. He was the youngest of their four children; Violet, Bob, Trudy and Bill.

Bill attended Brand country school in his formative years and graduated from Yuma High School with the class of 1954. He was a proud member of the 1953 state champion football team, the first to claim this honor for Yuma, but turned down a football scholarship to the University of Denver due to the damaged condition of his knees. He was elected student body president with a campaign promise of putting a pool table in the school library. A promise he regrets was not to be fulfilled.

Bill farmed with his father after graduation and then chose to serve his country and honorably did so in the United States Navy.  He served as a Seaman at the Naval Air Station Patuxent River, Maryland. He was chosen to serve as clerk to the commander since he could type almost 90 words a minute. Part of his job was ensuring that classified documents were securely handled. He took this responsibility so seriously that the safe they were kept in became inaccessible for a short period of time after he painted it and discovered that the paint had sealed it shut. After completing his service, Bill came back to Colorado and worked at Forney Industries and took courses in agriculture at CSU before marrying his high school sweetheart Marie Christine Trautman on June 14, 1959. To this union three children were born; Randall William, Michael Edward and Anna Marie.

Bill farmed and ranched for several years southeast of Yuma. During this time, he raised pure bred Charolais cattle with friend and cousin Don Olsen. Eventually, he took a sales job with Dean Miller Sales which launched a career in agribusiness spanning more than three decades. From selling metal buildings and grain bins to farm implements and irrigation equipment he concluded his career as an insurance broker with agencies in Colorado, Nebraska and Wyoming. During this time, he supported and led 4-H clubs, served as a school board member and in other community and civic organizations in both Yuma and Sidney Nebraska. He served His Lord and Savior as a member of Light Memorial Presbyterian Church of Sidney and First Presbyterian Church of Yuma.

Bill was fond of recounting his memorable journey as a child to Switzerland with his parents and sister Trudy after World War II. His curiosity and outgoing nature endeared him to the crew of the ships they traveled on which included the Queen Mary during their return to the United States. His newfound buddies showed him the cargo hold and crew areas of the ships. Perhaps this influenced his decision to join the US Navy later in his life. He was able to relive aspects of that journey when his wife and children traveled with him to Europe in 1983.

Bill will be remembered for his wit, sense of humor and ability to connect with others. He was asked to emcee several special events and gatherings. He enjoyed sharing a laugh with friends and family as often as he could. He was a mentor and gave sage advice to many and will be deeply missed by those who knew and loved him.

He was preceded in death by his parents, William and Mary Wenger and his father and mother-in-law, Edward and Jesse Trautman, his siblings and their spouses; Violet and Stanley Mekelburg, Bob and Kathryn Wenger, Trudy and Raymond Mullison – Gus Grabowski.

He is survived by his wife of 64 years, Marie Wenger, his son and daughter-in-law Randy and Beverly Wenger of Yuma, step granddaughter Tava Jo (Chris) Foster of Nokesville VA, step grandson Cortlandt (Tiffany) Ingram, son and daughter-in-law Mike and Susan Wenger of Denver, grandson Jake (Emily) Wenger of Lakewood, granddaughter Ellie Wenger of Long Beach CA, granddaughter Rosa Ray (Muz

Khan) of Englewood, grandson Thomas Wenger (Tate Gustine) of Denver and daughter Anna Wenger (Beth Decker) of Yuma. Also, he is survived by his sisters-in-law and their spouses – Kate Kallis of Hingham MA, Judy and David Niednagel of Evansville IN, Sue and Roger Kilgore of Denver and Lori Kaufman of Golden in addition to many special nieces and nephews.

Memorial Service will be held Monday, February 12, 2024 at 10:30 A.M. at the First Presbyterian Church in Yuma, Colorado. Pastor Michael Fitzsimmons will officiate the service and Baucke Funeral Home is in charge of the arrangements. A private family inurnment will take place at the Yuma Cemetery at a later date.