Prof. Em. Howard Wessel

Prof. Em. Howard Wessel

NEW ULM — Prof. Em. Howard Wessel, 84, of New Ulm died Wednesday, Feb. 15, 2017 at his home.

Funeral service will be 11 a.m. Tuesday, Feb. 21, at St. John’s Evangelical Lutheran Church in New Ulm with Pastor Jeffrey Bovee officiating. Burial will follow in the St. Paul’s Lutheran Cemetery in New Ulm.

Visitation will be 4-7 p.m. Monday at the Minnesota Valley Funeral Home NORTH CHAPEL in New Ulm and will continue for one hour prior to the time of service at church on Tuesday.

To leave an online condolence for his family or to sign the guest book go to

Howard Leslie Wessel was the ninth and last child of Edward and Amanda (Nolte) Wessel, born on the family farm near Truman, Minnesota, on Feb. 14, 1933. He received the washing of rebirth in Holy Baptism by Rev. H. Heinemann on March 5, 1933, at St. Paul’s Ev. Lutheran Church in Truman (LWMS – UAC). He confessed his faith in his Savior through Confirmation on March 30, 1947, at St. Paul’s.

Howard attended a one room grade school near Truman. He attended Dr. Martin Luther High School in New Ulm and continued his education there at Dr. Martin Luther College. At DMLHS Howard met his future wife, Lucille Carmichael. They were united in marriage on August 4, 1956, at Atonement Lutheran in Milwaukee where Lucille was teaching. God blessed this loving union with six children.

Howard began his teaching ministry in Fairmont, Minnesota, where he taught middle grades, served as organist, and as choir director. After four years he became principal and upper grade teacher at St. John Ev. Lutheran Church in Red Wing, Minnesota, where he also played organ and directed choir. In 1964 Howard accepted a call to DMLC in New Ulm to develop the new student teaching program, a position he directed for the next 31 years. During his teaching ministry, Howard earned advanced degrees in curriculum and instruction at the University of Minnesota in Minneapolis, and in education at Minnesota State University, Mankato. For almost four decades Howard taught college students elementary reading courses on campus and guided them through student teaching experiences throughout the Midwest.

Howard was a member of St. John’s Ev. Lutheran in New Ulm where he served his Savior in many capacities: elder, choir director, organist, and on various committees. In retirement he enjoyed serving with the WELS Prison Ministry in New Ulm for many years. Howard thoroughly loved being involved with his extended family and attending special family events whenever possible. He was a baseball enthusiast and exceptional gardener. He also enjoyed camping, puzzling, music, cribbage, traveling, and carpentry.

God blessed Howard with over 60 years of marriage with his beloved wife and companion, Lucille. They shared countless blessings together. Howard’s love for music, singing Lutheran hymns, and keeping Christ at the center of life are precious gifts that he gave and modeled to his family.

On the morning after his 84th birthday and following a brief illness, Howard fell asleep in Jesus on earth and awakened to a new, eternal dawn in heaven.

Living to thank the Lord for his life and anticipating a glorious reunion in heaven are his wife, Lucille; children Beth (Philip) Leyrer; Paul (Michelle) Wessel; Mark (Mary) Wessel; Keith (Elizabeth) Wessel; Grace (Brian) Hennig; and Claire (Phillip) Rehberger; 28 grandchildren; 11 great-grandchildren (expecting the arrival of two more great-grandchildren soon); brothers Loren (Buelah) Wessel; Edward Jr. (Sylvia) Wessel; sisters-in-law Alice Wessel and Kathy Wessel, and many nieces and nephews.

He was preceded in death by his parents, Edward and Amanda; siblings: Elfreida (and Roy) Turnmire; Harold (and Luella) Wessel; Walter (and Naomi) Wessel; Luella (and Donald) Jurgenson; Reinhardt Wessel; Roger Wessel; granddaughter Constance Wessel.

” ‘…Blessed are the dead who die in the Lord from now on.’ ‘Yes,’ says the Spirit, ‘they will rest from their labor, for their deeds will follow them.’ “ Rev. 14:13.

Memorials for consideration are: Martin Luther College; MLC Howard Wessel Memorial Scholarship Fund (Education Major, Music Minor); St. John’s Ev. Lutheran Church; WELS Prison Ministry; Minnesota Valley Lutheran High School.