BUCYRUS – The man who faithfully served his community for decades is being memorialized by the service organization he dearly loved.
Dr. Donald “Doc” Wenner, who died Sept. 29 at the age of 100, and his late wife, Peg, are being honored during an online auction organized by the Bucyrus Kiwanis Club. The fund-raiser is being called the Don and Peg Wenner Memorial Auction.
“We kind of wanted to make it a memorial event for Doc and Peg and all the service they did over the years,” said Kiwanis Club president Steve Ritzhaupt. “Doc did so much for Kiwanis and for the community, and we thought, what could we do to help locally too.”
The one-time event, which will run from April 15-28, will showcase just one of Dr. Wenner’s many talents – woodworking. More than 50 pieces, from small hand-carved jewelry boxes to cabinets and coffee tables, will be sold to the highest bidder.
All of the items, even his woodworking tools, have been donated by the Wenner children, who grew up watching their father fill the family home with handmade furniture. “He used to say he was downstairs making more sawdust,” said daughter Sue Calvert of Baltimore, Ohio.
Calvert, whose own home is brimming with her father’s furniture, said he was always searching through plan books to find new patterns, intrigued by innovative techniques for carving and finishing. But on Thursdays at noon, “everybody knew dad was at the Kiwanis lunch meeting.”
The Club is working with Castle Auctions & Appraisals in Bucyrus to organize the online event. Movers are transporting auction items from the Wenner home this week, Ritzhaupt said, to Holy Trinity Catholic Church, where they will be available for the public to see on April 17 and 24.
Ritzhaupt said “Doc’s” craftsmanship is evident on every piece, be it a wooden toy or a massive hutch or desk. “I’m just completely impressed with his skill and ability. I just want people to see the woodwork and the detail he put in it,” Ritzhaupt said. “Just challenging his mind and body he told me is how he lived to be 100.”
All of the power and hand tools from Dr. Wenner’s basement workshop will be sold, Ritzhaupt said, including a table saw, band saw, routers mulls, and an old-fashioned lathe. Those who can’t attend the two preview days at Holy Trinity Church can look at photos of every piece online, he said.
Dr. Wenner’s woodworking skills are scattered around town as well. He built the communion altar for his church, St. Paul’s Lutheran, and a Bible case for the Bucyrus Historical Society. He handcrafted paneling in the restored Bucyrus Railroad depot and used his talents to build “little libraries” for the city parks.
An avid cyclist, Dr. Wenner rode many years from Columbus to Portsmouth on the 210-mile Tour of the Scioto River Valley. He and Peg also pedaled from the Oregon coast to Colorado in 1976, a bike tour celebrating the 200th anniversary of the Declaration of Independence.
Although he retired from family practice in 1990, Dr. Wenner remained active in the community and continued his interest in genealogy and especially woodworking. “I guess he was No. 1 a father, No. 2 a doctor, and three and four might be a tie between bicyclist and woodworker,” Calvert said.
Now his handiwork will be passed on for others to treasure, with proceeds going to one of the organizations near and dear to his heart. “I think he would be thrilled to know his furniture was going to be auctioned by the Kiwanis for the benefit of Bucyrus and the community,” Calvert said.
A fitting tribute to a family man, a physician, a philanthropist, and so much more.
Ritzhaupt said interested bidders can log onto the Castle Auctions website at castleauctionappraisal.com