Wendell was born in Le Mars in 1925, one of six children. After graduating high school he served in the U.S. Army in New Guinea during World War II. After the war, he attended the Evangelical Theological Seminary in Illinois, where he was ordained as a minister in the Evangelical United Brethren Church, later the United Methodist Church.
Wendell became a Chaplain in the United States Navy after this, and during his active duty was stationed throughout the Far East, and served in the Chaplain's Bureau in Washington DC, at the Naval Air Station in Fallon, Nev., and throughout California. He also served aboard the USS Hancock (CVA-19) and the USS Oklahoma City (CLG-5).
He did graduate work at American University in Washington D.C. from 1965 to 1968, and earned his master's degree in mass media communication.
Overall, he served 31 years of active duty service, and retired from the U.S. Naval Chaplain Corps in 1986 with the rank of Captain.
After retirement he and his wife enjoyed extensive traveling and spending time with their family and many friends.
He is survived by his wife Connie; and his four children, Scott, Tim, Brian, and Cheryl.
A memorial service will be held at 11 a.m. Thursday, Sept. 17, at the Veterans Museum and Memorial Center, 2115 Park Boulevard, San Diego, CA 92101; www.veteranmuseum.org.