Wendel Leon Folkerts was born on September 16, 1939, in a rural Timken, KS farm home to Arnold Folkerts and Wilhelmina Margareta “Minnie” (Suchy) Folkerts. He passed from life to eternal life peacefully at age 83 on February 1, 2023.
Wendel attended a one-room grade school in District 41 of Rush County and graduated from LaCrosse Rural High School in 1957. He managed Stevenson’s Clothing Store in Hill City, KS until 1961 when he went back to school and then graduated from Ft. Hays State University with a BA Mathematics Degree in 1965.
After graduation, Wendel spent 10 years in the life insurance business where he was President of Central Kansas Life Underwriters for one year.
He met Anna Marie Toothaker in Great Bend, KS, where they both worked, and they married on August 5, 1967, at Shepherd of the Hills Lutheran Church in Ft. Collins, CO. Wendel and Anna raised five children: Bret and Chad from a previous marriage, Oliver, an adopted son from Canada, and two daughters, Jeni and Jill. His desire was to raise his combined family on a farm, so, he and Anna plus five farmed until 1984. Wendel also served on the USD 395 School Board in LaCrosse, KS.
Wendel was baptized at Peace Lutheran Church, Albert, KS as an infant, taught Sunday School classes, sang for weddings, and was active on various church boards. He served as Chairman of the Kansas Lutheran Hour in the 70’s, and was President of the Great Bend Chapter of Full Gospel Businessmen in the 80’s.
He went to work for NCRA in 1984 in the Great Bend, KS office, was later transferred to the Denver office and then finished his NCRA career in McPherson. In McPherson, he was active in the McPherson United Way campaigns, and acted as Chairman of All School Day in 2006.
He is survived by his wife, Anna of McPherson, KS; three sons and two daughters, Bret of Hays, KS, Chad (Lori) of Rush Center, KS, Oliver of Canada, Jeni (Terry) Hanken and Jill (Mark) Reifschneider of McPherson, KS; one brother and two sisters, Gerald (Charlotte) of Sacramento, CA, Marlene (Mak) Brack of Great Bend, KS and Karen (Michael) Cannon of Plano, TX; 8 grandchildren, James (Sara) Folkerts of Mission, KS, Jenna (Chris) Reynolds of Raleigh, NC, Katlyn (Avery) Roe of Logan, UT, Jack (Tyna) Reifschneider of Inman, KS, and Bo Reifschneider of Phoenix, AZ, Cole, Trey, and Drew (Kariana) Hanken, all of McPherson, KS; and six great-grandchildren, Everett, Isabella, and William of Mission, KS, Oliver and Owen of Raleigh, NC, and Elsie Reifschneider of Inman, KS; and many cousins, nieces and nephews.
He was preceded in death by his parents, Arnold and Minnie Folkerts, and one brother, Arnold Folkerts.
A Celebration of Life service will be held at 11:00 AM, Monday, February 6, 2023, at New Hope Evangelical Church, McPherson, KS with Pastor George Bocox officiating. A private burial will be at Peace Lutheran Cemetery, Albert, KS at a later date. To view a live stream broadcast of the service, please click here: Live Stream Broadcast
Memorial contributions may be made to New Hope Evangelical Church in care of Stockham Family Funeral Home, 205 North Chestnut, McPherson, KS 67460.