Dennis Darrell Werlein, 69, of Mondovi, passed away peacefully on his farm Saturday, Jan. 27, with family by his side.
Dennis was born May 12, 1948, in rural Mondovi, to Frank and Freda Werlein. He was baptized at Sacred Heart Parish, in Mondovi, where he was a devoted and active parishioner throughout his life. He was also a member of the Knights of Columbus and often a reader during mass. He was raised on the farm his father bought, graduating from Mondovi High School in 1966.
In 1969, Dennis was drafted into the Army and served in Vietnam as a rifleman with the 4th Infantry Division. Upon returning home, he attended Chippewa Valley Technical College and graduated with a degree in Farm Management.
Dennis wed Mary Mckenna on Sept. 22, 1973, and began farming on the family farm. Over the years, their family grew to eight children and nine grandchildren as Dennis innovated and improved the farm. He was also active in agricultural causes, including the National Farmers Organization, the American Agricultural Movement, and was a pioneer in organic farming practices. Dennis cherished farming and proudly passed his knowledge onto his sons.
His combat and overseas experiences in Vietnam helped form his lifelong passion for assisting and honoring members of America’s military. He was a founding member and past president of the Mike Voth Memorial Vietnam Veterans of America Chapter in Eau Claire, as well as being involved with the Veterans of Foreign Wars and The American Legion. Whether participating in local parades, speaking at public ceremonies, or helping individual veterans, Dennis was continually dedicating himself to our veterans and our country.
Dennis enjoyed the woods and fields of his farm. He used his spare time to walk, hunt and plan the next year’s crops. He made a point to spend time with family, camping, fishing and, in the later years, visiting them as they moved around the country. He was a faithful Christian and his generous heart led him to find a friend wherever he went.
He is survived by his wife, Mary Werlein (McKenna); mother, Freda Werlein (Prissell); brother, Glenn Werlein (Fay); children, Jake Werlein (Carey), Ben Werlein, Teresa Werlein, Lori Buckley (Ricardo), Jennifer Moran (Arnoldo), Emily Punke (Adam), Sam Werlein (Kelsey), and Karen Werlein; grandchildren, Taylor Salveggio, Kayleigh and Breanna Seagraves, Alesa and Tamia Buckley, Darius and Nina Moran, Harold Punke, and Otto Werlein-Reimann;along with many cousins, nieces and nephews.
He was preceded in death by his father, Frank Werlein; his sister, Rosanne Werlein.
A Mass of Christian Burial will be held at 11 a.m. on Saturday, Feb. 3, at Sacred Heart Catholic Church, in Mondovi, with Father John Schultz officiating. Burial with full military honors will follow at the church cemetery.
Visitation will be from 4 to 7 p.m. on Friday, Feb. 2, at Kjentvet-Smith Funeral Home, Mondovi, with a Scripture Wake at 7 p.m. Visitation will continue from 10 a.m. until the time of the service on Saturday at the church.
Online condolences may be shared at www.kjentvet-smithfuneralhome.com.