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Halstead, KS 67056

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Gene Wendling Gave Much To Halstead

Posted 2/28/2018

By Pilar MartinGENE Wendling drives his restored tractor in the Old Settlers parade.GENE Wendling drives his restored tractor in the Old Settlers parade.

HALSTEAD – Last week, one of Halstead’s most beloved and respected citizens was laid to rest.

Eugene Wendling, known simply as “Gene” was a lifelong resident of Harvey County. If you had a question about local history, Gene was the man you talked to. He could be seen almost daily in Halstead, either going for coffee or lunch.

Gene was part of the Wendling legacy that began when brothers John and Theodore homesteaded in 1873, just south and west of Halstead.

Gene started his education in the 1920’s at The Enterprise School District Number 14, called Hardpan school by locals. He later attended and graduated from Halstead High School in 1937. Gene served in the army during WWII in the Pacific Theater.

Gene spent most of his time as a farmer and cattle feeder. Gene’s son, David, began a partnership on the farm in 1972. David bought his dad out in 1996, but shared the livestock operation until 2012. Gene even helped out at harvest, driving a tractor during wheat harvest until 2016.  David restored Gene’s old red  Massey-Harris tractor, which Gene drove in the Old Settlers parades.

David said Gene was active in the farm operation, out checking his crops at least once a week until his recent illness. David said most days, Gene would come out to the farm, checking out the operation and stopping to visit.

While farming was Gene’s occupation, he was very involved in his church and community. Gene was a member of the American Legion Post 231, Halstead Hospital Lay Advisory Board, Farmer’s Co-op Board of Directors, Lions Club, Knights of Columbus, Elks Lodge of Newton, Harvey County Livestock Association, Harvey County Farm Bureau, Hertzler Research Foundation, Halstead Hospital Board of Trustees, and Halstead Historical Society.

To continue reading, please see this week's print edition.