WILBERT ELLIS (BOOP) WENDT, SR., was born October 25, 1918 in Bellville, Texas, and had recently celebrated his 81st birthday. He was united in marriage with Flora Schroeder on August 20, 1938.
A lifelong resident of Bellville, Boop was a member of the First United Methodist Church, Woodmen of the World, and the Gulf Coast Flywheelers Antique Engine Club. He was also a member of both the Coshatte and Kenney Agricultural Societies. For a number of years, he had also served on the board of directors for Millheim Harmony Hall. For over 40 years he was active in and devoted to the Pilgrims Rest Cemetery Association where he sold spaces, marked graves, and handled dirt removal and general cemetery upkeep.
Boop went to work for John Deere as an engine repairman in 1943, attending schools in Mississippi and Iowa. He went into business for himself in 1959 repairing tractors, small engines and all types of lawn and farm equipment. He 'retired' in 1979. In 1986, when he went back into business for himself, he began collecting and restoring antique engines. In 1993, he was featured on a segment of 'The Eyes of Texas.' He and his engines were also featured in several local newspaper editorials. Additionally, Boop enjoyed collecting and repairing clocks. He loved squirrels and throughout the years made pets of those that were in and around his yard.
Several years ago he enlarged his shop to include an antique engine museum room. Classrooms of children or different groups of people visited the museum throughout the years; Boop enjoyed having people stop by to listen to his stories about the engines. A 1909 Fuller & Johnson gas engine would steal the show, as would his Maytag wringer washer patented in 1919. Another favorite was his 1930 5 HP John Deere corn sheller with a manual wheel. One engine in his collection was obtained by cutting a small tree that had grown through it. Within a week, he had the engine running. A 1900 Waterloo had been sitting in a pasture for 50 years. Boop liked to read about and research the history of each engine. He enjoyed taking the engines to county fairs and other festivals. His collection, at last count, included approximately 60 engines. The 'popping' sound of the engines was music to his ears.
He passed away suddenly on Wednesday, November 10, 1999, in a Brenham, Texas, hospital. He is survived by his wife of over 61 years, Flora; daughter Delores Parr and her husband E.C.; son Wilbert E. Wendt, Jr. and his fiancee, Freda Klausmeyer; three grandchildren, brothers, sisters, nieces, nephews, cousins, numerous friends, and faithful friend, Blackie the dog. He was preceded in death by three brothers, (Harold, Ralph and Pete), granddaughter Tammy Parr Cordes.
So many of us will miss this special man. He always had a smile on his lips, a joke or story to tell, and twinkle in his bright blue eyes. He was devoted to our family and would help anyone who asked for his time or advice.
Submitted by his granddaughter, Debra Parr White, P.O. Box 12846, Austin, Texas 78711.