Wendel Albert Ott, age 89, of Neillsville, WI, died peacefully, Saturday, July 8, 2023 at the Marshfield Health Services Nursing Home in Marshfield, WI. Wendel had a strong faith, and is now residing in Heaven.
Wendel was born April 6, 1934 to Mrs. Marie Schroeder Ott. His father, Albert Ott died in November of 1933, before Wendel was born. Wendel was born in the hospital on state street. His two brothers and five sisters were all born at home. His baptismal sponsors were Mr. Erich Sievert, who was teacher and principle at St. John’s Evangelical Lutheran Church and Herbert Seelow, a relative. Wendel attended St. John’s Christian Day School and graduated Neillsville High School in 1953.
As a child, Wendel used a wooden peach crate for a dresser, as his grandma had bought a crate of peaches and canned them. He helped care for their vegetable garden. He enjoyed his bicycle, he went to Marshfield on it about 30 miles from Neillsville. One time, Wendel and his friend Ronnie Wallace, went by train from Neillsville to Marshfield. They spent too much money and could not buy a ticket home. Fortunately for them, Ray Kutsche, a Clark County Sherriff was there to pick up his wife so Wendel and Ron were able to ride home with them. He mowed lawns to earn money, also picked whatever vegetable or fruit crop was in season. His mom said he liked to save his own money; she remembered him asking for money to go to the movie.
At 16, Wendel bought an American Motors Scooter. Sometime later he bought a 1951 Cushman. Then later came a Cushman Eagle for him (maybe a 1953). Then he got a 1949 Harley Davidson 45cc. A 1952 Harley came next, 74cc. He had a sidecar with the 1951 Cushman, the 1949 Harley, and the 1952 Harley. He didn’t have a car until he was 21 years old.
He hauled canned milk at age 15, a can of milk weighs 100 lbs. Four feet from the ground to the floor of the truck, and the cans were double stacked as well. Wendel was always strong and muscular. He would lift weights, especially during the winter, to keep strong for his rodeo and stock car driving. He was a professional cowboy from 1958 to 1965, and he competed on the profesional rodeo circuit in the midwest. He rode Brahma bulls and bare-back broncos, he also rode saddle broncos a couple of times. He rode his motorcycle to many a rodeo. One time he broke his shoulder blade, and still drove his motorcycle back home. Another time, he rode to Nebraska for a rodeo, 800 miles one way.
He owned Windy’s Pool Hall on Hewett Street from 1959 to 1965. It was a beer bar with two regulation sized pool tables, one smaller coin operated table, and a card table in the back. Wendel lived with his mom in town until the bar was sold.
He bought his country home around 1960, and moved in 1966. Wendel and Dorthy were married on September 28, 1963. Albert was born October 2, 1966, Harley June 11, 1968, and Casey September 1, 1969, which was Labor Day. Wendel was good with the babies. He would get up at night and rock them to sleep.
Wendel worked many jobs during his life. He was a pin setter for the bowling alley, a milk truck driver, and egg truck driver, a lime truck driver for the Greenwood Coop, a semi-truck driver for Hediger Dairy. He worked for Kelly Tire Service, the City of Neillsville, Rolla Home, Tesemer Construction, Nelson Muffler for 9 years, The Clark County Forestry Department, roofing and siding, the Neillsville Foundry and Lynn Dairy for 33 years.
He went alone to Colorado on his motorcycle just for the love of motorcycling. Wendel and I often went to Rockford, IL to visit his best buddy, Walt and Pat Gerber and family. We went to Sturgeon Bay one spring for a motorcycle Gypsy tour with Walt and Pat, beautiful cherry blossoms on the tour. There were motorcycles as far ahead and as far behind as we could see. Those were honest times; everyone left their leathers lay out on their motorcycles.
Wendel had a very strong faith, he was very private about it; although one time he did say, “The kingdom of God is within you”, which was very helpful to me. This was probably after we had been married for 20 years, we were married for 60 years. He was always been very true and faithful to me. I feel very blessed, and am so thankful he asked me to marry him.
Wendel was baptized, confirmed, and a lifetime member of St. John’s Evangelical Lutheran Church in Neillsville. He had a love for motorcycles and his motorcycling accomplishments include a first place finish in a 1954 ice race , a first place at the 1957 drag race at state rally, and the fastest time in a 1959 hill climb. Wendel was also the ABC bowling league champion for the 1962-’63 season.
He is survived by his wife, Dorothy, two sons, Albert (Marionette) Ott of San Antonio, TX, and Casey (Naty) Ott of Willamina, OR. Three grandchildren, Bryson (Priscilla) Ott, Camron (Shelby) Ott, and Ricardo Ruiz-Romero. Two great grandchildren, Viscellia and Horacio. One sibling, Edgar (Betty).
He was preceded in death by his parents, a son, Harley, and siblings Henry, Evelyn, Ruth, Louise, Leana, Doris.
A Memorial Service for Wendel will be held at 11:00 a.m., Friday, July 14, 2023, at St. John’s Evangelical Lutheran Church in Neillsville. Pastor Timothy Biebert will officiate. Music will be provided by Judy Trunkel. Visitation will be from 10:00 to 11:00 a.m., Friday at the church.
In lieu of flowers memorials in Wendel's name may be directed to The HighGround, www.highground.us
Online Condolences may be made at www.geschefh.com.
Gesche Funeral Home and Cremation Service is assisting Wendel’s family with funeral arrangements.
Feel free to contact us with questions and/or comments.