Donald Wetzel Sr. passed away peacefully at his home on May 19, 2020 at the age of 95. Don was born to Henry Wetzel and Alma Stormo Wetzel on April 12, 1925 in Tampico, WA. Don lived his whole life in the Tampico and Ahtanum area. Don enlisted into the U.S. Navy at the age of 17 and was assigned to the gunner deck aboard the USS Enterprise during WWII. During his enlistment, Don married Violet Krein in April of 1944 and they remained together until Violet’s passing on February 21, 2012. On 18 March 1945, Don was critically injured by an enemy bomb that struck his gunner deck during a naval battle with the Japanese in the Indian Sea. Don was hospitalized for approximately 1 year and spent time in various hospitals thorough the country (Guam, Hawaii, and Bremerton, WA) during his recovery. Don was awarded a Purple Heart for the injuries he received during the battle.
Upon returning home to Yakima, Don farmed hops with his family in Tampico. After farming, Don purchased Olson’s TV and Appliance Store, which he operated for several years. Later Don worked for Pepsi Cola until his retirement. Don was an accomplished hunter and spent several years hunting with the same crew of friends. Don was also an avid gardener and took great pride in his flower and vegetable gardens. He was proud to name his home the “Wetzel’s Corner” due to the close proximity of his daughter, and 2 sons’ residences. Don was preceded in death by his parents, wife Violet, and daughter Connie LeRoss. He is survived by his children Sherry Nelson (Mike), Don Wetzel Jr. (Debi), and Doug Wetzel (Kim), his brother Edward Wetzel, sisters Lois Bates, and Joyce Langell, 13 grandchildren, 19 great-grandchildren, and 1 great-great-grandchild. The family would like to express their gratitude to the Veterans Administration for their continued care, support, and willingness to go above and beyond to care for Daddy. We would also like to thank Total Care for his wonderful caregiver Corey. Per Don’s request there will be no services.
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