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Wendell's Story

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Wendell Howard Massengale, age 88, from Monticello, Ky., passed away January 8, 2017, in Somerset, Ky., after a long bout with kidney disease.
He was born at home, the second of four children to the late Elbert Greenberry and Orpha Conn Massengale on October 28, 1928, and was married to Norma Jean Neely Massengale for 64 years.
His education began in the Wayne County Public School System, starting in a one-room school and graduating at age 17 in 1946.
He then went to Lindsey Wilson College for one year on a basketball scholarship.
After his younger brother, Martin began attending Western, he dropped his scholarship and worked to save money to also attend Western a few years later with his older brother Glen.
He obtained a Bachelor's degree in Chemistry and Biology.
Later, after serving in the military in London, England, he obtained a Master of Science degree in Chemistry and Fuels Engineering from the University of Utah and began teaching chemistry at the Air Force Academy in Colorado.
He retired from the Air Force as a Lieutenant Colonel while working in administration at the material's laboratory at Wright Patterson Air Force Base in Dayton, Ohio.
During his Air Force career, he worked in signals intelligence, the Air Force Missile Program, the Systems Command, and taught Chemistry at the Air Force Academy.
All during his military career he continued to support and come back to the farm in Wayne County.
While in the military, he received numerous awards and commendations, including two Meritorious Service Medals and the Air Force Commendation Medal. He was a graduate of the Air War College.
He returned to Wayne County in 1980 and began to teach chemistry after 14 years away from the classroom and taught for 12 years at Wayne County High School.
He had a self-effacing manner and went out of his way to help his students.
In retirement, he served on the Board of Directors for the Wayne County Farm Bureau, President of the Wayne County Extension Council, and President of the Wayne County Chapter of the Kentucky Cattleman's Association.
Throughout his life, he enjoyed many sports including golf, bowling, skiing, squash, and fishing.
He is survived by his wife—Norma Jean; sons—Roger (Debbie) and Scott; granddaughters—Sarah and Jessica; brother—Martin (Ruth); sister—Lois Shultz (Gerald); and brother-in-law—Paul Neely (Betty Ann), as well as several nieces and nephews.
He was preceded in death by his son—Michael; and his older brother—Glen Massengale.
Funeral services were held at 11 a.m. on Thursday, January 12, 2017 in the funeral home chapel.
Burial was in the Elk Spring Cemetery.
A reception following the internment will take place at the UK Cooperative Extension Building in Monticello.
Expressions of sympathy can be made through Hospice of Lake Cumberland, Wayne County High School, or Gideon's International.
Hicks-Vaughn Funeral Home in charge of the arrangements.
Published on January 17, 2017
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