Sunday, April 6, 2003


William Wessels was firefighter for 30 years

By Karen Andrew
The Cincinnati Enquirer

Retired Cincinnati firefighter William Wessels loved woodworking and made fine furniture, bluebird houses and toys.

"He made a lot of bird houses and gave them away," said his wife, Sue. "He was a man who wore many hats, had many interests, and was a fun-loving person."

She said that when someone offered to pay for one of his birdhouses, he suggested they make a contribution to the Heart House, a homeless shelter in Aurora, Ind.

He died March 21 of pulmonary fibrosis at his home in the Hidden Valley community of Lawrenceburg, Ind. He was 76.

Mr. Wessels was born in 1927 to Angela and Fred Wessels of Price Hill, attended St. Lawrence School and graduated from Elder High School in 1945. His parents operated the old Bohemian Grill on Warsaw Avenue in Price Hill.

Just a few days after his high school graduation, he enlisted in the Army and served as a cook with the 338th Field Artillery Battalion in the Army of Occupation near Trieste, Italy from 1945-46.

In 1949, he joined the Cincinnati Fire Department and worked for Engine Company 45, which was at Court and Plum and later moved to its current location at 5th and Central Avenues. He was an engineer and operated the pumper.

He married Sue Lovell of Martinsville, Va. in 1951 and the family lived in Westwood for 35 years.

After learning to cook in the Army, Mr. Wessels developed a lifelong love of cooking and often made recipes for his family, which had he tested first in the firehouse.

In his early years, he enjoyed playing first base for the Fire Department's slow-pitch softball team.

He retired in 1979 and enjoyed golfing as well as his woodworking. He had kept in touch with a group of friends from grade school who called themselves the Aces Club. The boys would meet at the corner of Van Vey and McPerson Streets in Price Hill.

Just before his death, Mr. Wessels began writing a history of the Aces Club. He wrote, "We would meet and solve world problems, play cards, etc. Fines were ordered for being late, vulgarity, missing books or just missing." Sixty-two years later, the club still operates under those same rules.

In addition to his wife of 52 years, survivors include his sons Chris of Chicago and Mark of Cleveland Heights, Ohio; daughters Diane Jones and Teresa Coile of Green Township and Angela Wessels of Boston; a sister, Margaret Kreinest of Mack; a brother, Paul of White Oak; and eight grandchildren.

Services have been held. Memorials: American Lung Association of Ohio, 11113 Kenwood Road, Blue Ash, OH 45242-1836 or the School Building Fund, St. Lawrence School, 524 Walnut Street, Lawrenceburg, IN 47025.

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