Lewis Fredrick Wetzel, 92, of Curwensville died Tuesday, March 28, 2017 at his residence after a lengthy illness.
Born May 5, 1924 in Clearfield, he was the son of Charles A. and Nellie (McCracken) Wetzel.
Mr. Wetzel had first been employed by Harbison-Walker Refractories in Clearfield for 10 years. He was retired from North American Refractories Co. (NARCO) in Curwensville after 33 years of service.
He was a U.S. Army Air Corp veteran of World War II and drafted in 1943 to serve in the 8th Air Wing. He was a waist gunner on a B-17 Bomber flying 33 missions, including D-Day, shot down over Poland and spent time in a P.O.W. Camp.
He and his wife had served as chaperones for the Curwensville Teen Center for 18 years. He was also a member of the Curwensville United Methodist.
At the church, he served as a teacher, on the administrative board, board of trustees as well as several other boards.
Mr. Wetzel was a member of the church’s choir and for several years was the choir director.
He participated in the church’s annual “Search for Peace” for 50 years and also was a member of the Curwensville Town Choir.
He was a member of the former Curwensville I.O.O.F.; a member and past master of Noble Lodge No. 480 F. & A.M. of Curwensville; a member of the Coudersport Consistory; and a life member of the Curwensville VFW, the Curwensville American Legion and the Curwensville Rescue Hose & Ladder Co.
He was a former member and past state president of the National Campers and Hikers Association, Keystone Travel Trailer Club and the Order of United Commercial Travelers of America.
Along with Jack Thurstin, Gordon Graham and Gene Tubbs, they made up the Wonders Quartet, and they sang at various churches and other venues for more than 40 years.
He served as a Cub Scout and Scout and Explorer Leader. He was the 2002 recipient of the Silver Beaver Award, which is scouting’s highest honor bestowed on a volunteer, and a member of the Order of the Arrow.
On Nov. 29, 1943 at the Curwensville Methodist Church, he wed the former Helen Althea “Sis” Kelly, who preceded him in death April 23, 1994.
He was also preceded in death by his parents; three sisters, Phoebe Thurstin, Ida Belle Frantz and Mildred Gearhart; and three brothers, John, Gayle and Wallace Wetzel.
Surviving are two children, William F. Wetzel Sr. and his wife, Connie and Cheryl L. Johnston and her husband, Roger, both of Curwensville, and five grandsons, William Wetzel Jr. and his wife, Carrie, Bryan Wetzel, Roger Johnston Jr., Erick Johnston and his wife, Kristie and Kent Johnston and his wife, Kelsey.
Also surviving are 10 great-grandchildren, Mark Iversen, Wyatt Wetzel, Cole Wetzel, Carolann Johnston, Jaylynn Johnston, Henry Johnston, Scarlett Johnston, Megan Young, Grace Young and Nora Young and a brother, Millard Wetzel of Coral City, Fla.
Funeral services will be held at 11 a.m. Saturday at the Curwensville United Methodist Church, 602 State St., Curwensville, with the Rev. Dr. Robert S. Ludrowsky officiating. Burial will be in the Oak Hill Cemetery, Curwensville.
Friends will be received from 2 p.m. – 8 p.m. Friday at the Chester C. Chidboy Funeral Home Inc. in Curwensville and again from 10 a.m. until the time of services Saturday at the church.
Military honors will be accorded at the cemetery by members of the DuBois Honor Guard. Noble Lodge No. 480 F. & A.M. will conduct a Masonic Memorial Service at 6 p.m. Friday.
The family suggests contributions be made to either the Curwensville United Methodist Church, 602 State St., Curwensville, PA 16833 or the Penn Highlands Hospice, 100 Hospital Ave., DuBois, PA 15801.
Online condolences may be made to the family at www.chidboyfuneralhome.com.
The Chester C. Chidboy Funeral Home Inc. of Curwensville is in charge of the arrangements.