1921 – 2003

RUMFORD – Harding O. Wentzell, 81, died Monday May 5, in the line of duty as a result of a heart attack while responding to a fire call. He was a resident of Backkingdom Road in Mexico.

Born in Berwick West, Kings County, Nova Scotia, on Sept. 16, 1921, he was the son of Morley and Goldie (Kaulback) Wentzell. He moved to Rumford in his younger years and left high school to take care of his sister, Iris in order for their mother to work.

He worked in the woods for Laurin Kaulback until enlisting in the Army in 1940. He worked in the Motor Pool. He served in England, Germany and France. He worked on General Eisenhower’s Staff Car.

He returned after the war in 1946 returning to the woods. He also worked for Downs the Florist, Mount Zircon Bottling Co. and drove a delivery truck for Cushman’s Bakery. He then worked in the Salvage & Storeroom Depts. of the Oxford Paper Co. until his retirement in 1986, days before the strike. While working for the Paper Co. he finished his GED and received his diploma.

He served many years in the Fire Service including the Mill Fire Brigade, 23 years of service for the Mexico Fire Dept. In recent years he was captain of the Traffic Squad and belonged to the Maine State Federation of Fire Fighters. He was a member of the Hawks Search and Rescue Team which was run by the local CB Radio Club in the 70’s.

He belonged to the Rumford and Mexico Baptist Church serving as Deacon in both churches. He was very active with all aspects of Youth Fellowships. He was also Assistant Scout Master at the Virginia Troop 181 in the late 50’s and early 60’s and was an “Order of the Arrow’ member. He was very respected and loved by all that knew him. He received the “George Downe Memorial Fire Fighter of the Year” Award in Feb of 2003.

He is survived by his wife, Edith (Taylor) Wentzell; a son, Gary and his wife Charlene; a daughter, Eileen Thompson; his special dog, “Patches”; grandchildren, Paula Wentzell and her children Angela, Tayla and Alexis, Todd Wentzell and his daughter Emily, Heather and Neil Sorenson and their children Samantha, Hunter and William, Toby Thompson and Wendy Voter, Jenny Lloyd an adopted granddaughter; brother, Ray and his wife Audrey from Peru; sister, Iris and her husband Norman Theriault of Wells, sister, Faye Ledbetter of Zephyrhills, Fla.; sister-in-law, Jacqui Benner Wentzell of Marblehead, Mass.

He was predeceased by his mother and father, Goldie and Morley Wentzell; a sister, Florrie Perry; a brother, Willis Wentzell; and a great-great-granddaughter, MacKenzie.

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