Albert Wendell DeBey, 95, of Downs, KS went to rest in peace in his heavenly Father’s home on November 25, 2023.
Wendell was born May 1, 1928, at the family farm southeast of Dispatch in rural Jewell County KS. While living there he attended Little Oak Grade School. The family moved to Dispatch to operate the general store in the mid-thirties. From there he continued his education at Oak Creek School through 8th grade. He and boyhood friend and classmate, Merle Nyhoff, rode the bus for his freshman year attending Athens Rural High School. From “the store” he and his parents and brother, Courtney moved to the farm one mile west of Dispatch (Grandfather Albert Vos farm) where they lived together with (Aunt) Grace Vos. His high school education continued at Downs, graduating in 1946.
Wendell began farming while still in high school, buying an F20 Farmall as his first tractor. In 1951 he was called into service as a US Marine and served two years until October of 1953 as part of the Pacific operation. Returning to the farm, he used carpentry skills to benefit family and friends. This became a lifelong part of his faith service, working on buildings and houses for his church and neighbors.
God blessed Wendell with a beautiful wife, Barbara Jean Bihlmaier, on November 30, 1957. They established their home 1 ½ miles northwest of Dispatch where, together, they farmed and raised their family of five sons: Roy, Ray, Glen, John, and Wes. In these early years they faced the uncertainties of their son Glen’s difficulty due to a brain tumor, with many trips made to Kansas City.
In addition to farming, Wendell served God and his community with his talent as a water well driller. He was given the ability to locate underground hydrological veins of water with copper rods or forked tree branches. This became a blessing to many and to him in the development of his well drilling and service business, D & D Service.
Wendell had many friends and family members with whom he spent time hunting and fishing. He greatly enjoyed fishing with friends locally, including ice fishing, and with friends and relatives who would join him in Texas to fish the Gulf. Wendell related a memory of his childhood, of going fishing with his father and saving the fish in a water tank so they could have a fish fry on his birthdays.
Wendell and his wife Barbara of nearly 66 years enjoyed spending their winters in Texas and a trip to Europe and to Hawaii. He also treasured his time with his twelve grandchildren, and 23 great-grandchildren. He frequently shared stories he created, usually about animals, which the children loved to hear.
Wendell professed his faith and became a member of the Dutch Reformed Church (a mile east of Dispatch) until it closed. He then transferred his membership to the Dispatch Christian Reformed Church. He and Barbara were committed to teaching their sons about God’s love and plan for their salvation. The family faithfully attended church where they worshipped and were active in serving others.
Wendell is survived by his wife Barbara of the home, sons Roy and Stacy, Cawker City, KS (Trevor, Miranda); Raymond and Ginger, Cawker City, KS (Raylene, Ryan); John and Cyndi, Faucett, MO (Andrew, Amanda); and Wesley and Christa, Hays, KS (Tandra, Kiersha, Ranisha, Moriah, Aidan, Cailin). Wendell was preceded in death by his parents John and Julia (Vos) DeBey, brother Courtney DeBey, son Glen DeBey (age 8), granddaughter Lindsay DeBey (Roy and Stacy), parents-in-law Dean and Margaret (Worley) Bihlmaier, and brother-in-law Patrick Bihlmaier.
Memorial Services will be held at 10:30 a.m., Friday, December 1, 2023, at Dispatch Christian Reformed Church, 298 10 Road, Cawker City, KS, with Pastor Will Brouwers officiating. Inurnment will take place in the Dispatch Cemetery. Visitation will be held on Thursday, November 30, 2023, from 6:00 p.m. – 7:30 p.m. at the Church with family present to greet friends. All Faiths Funeral Chapel, 113 S. Madison St., Smith Center, KS is handling the arrangements.