Johnathon Daniel Wengel passed away suddenly on February 25, 2023, in Wayzata, Minnesota. He was 55 years old.
Johnathon is survived by his father, Danny Wengel of Hobart, IN; his wife of nearly 30 years, Crystal; and their three daughters, Madison B. Wengel, Tatiana N. Wengel & Ashley E. Wengel; along with his siblings Dana Doppler (Barney) of Schererville, IN; Jeff Wengel (Michelle) of Hanna, IN; Jason Wengel (Vicky) of Lowell, IN; and Danie Jo Collins (Craig) of Crown Point, IN; and his in-laws, J & Skipper Henderson of Waco, TX. He also leaves behind 9 nephews and countless friends and family in Texas, Indiana/Illinois, Arkansas, Minnesota and worldwide. He was preceded in death by his grandparents; Edward & Charlotte Wengel and Howard & Shirley Spiller; by his beloved mother and #1 Mom, Bonnie Wengel-Wiler; and by his favorite uncle, Florian Wengel.
Johnathon was born on April 18, 1967, in Gary, Indiana. He graduated from Merrillville High School in 1985 and went on to attend Indiana State University where he graduated in 1989 with a Bachelor of Science in Safety Management. He also attended Illinois Institute of Technology and obtained a Master of Science in Environmental Management in 1998.
Following graduation, Johnathon took a job with BP (previously Amoco) in Texas where he went on to have an illustrious 32-year career, with his last notable position being the Vice President, HSSE & Risk Management, BP Wind Energy North America Inc. He was able to see the world in a way most people only dream of. He traveled to Australia, Germany, Belgium, the UK, Trinidad/Tobago, Chile, Venezuela, and Canada and literally went around the world twice! He spent one night in the Arctic Circle when he was bumped from his flight and made several helicopter trips out to the Gulf of Mexico oil platforms. He spent his career worrying about the health and safety of others and volunteered to be the OSHA liaison for the emergency response team handling the Deepwater Horizon spill, spending weeks in New Orleans. He was the utmost professional, a mentor to all, and prided himself with helping his direct reports with career planning.
Johnathon married Crystal in 1993. They met in Austin at a rowing regatta later realizing they lived less than a mile apart in Houston. Crystal had joined the rowing club prior to meeting him, and as fate would have it, Johnathon was her instructor. And as they say, the rest is history. Crystal passed the family test in November of 1991, when they flew to Indiana to meet his family and crazily took a bus at 3:00 AM to Detroit to see a Bears/Lion’s game on Thanksgiving Day…and thus began the tradition of annual family football trips. They welcomed Madison in 1995, traveled to Russia to get Tatiana in 1999 and welcomed Ashley in 2002.
Johnathon was a live music fanatic, a craft beer enthusiast, a Sasquatch devotee, an explorer, an avid boater and loved kayaking and traveling. He and Crystal were lucky enough to go to The Netherlands, Canada, Italy, Germany, Austria, Russia, England, and Ireland and to countless US destinations and national parks. His goal was to drive every single scenic byway in the US. In retirement, he was a beer tender, Santa’s bouncer and a segway tour guide…and he LOVED it! He never met a stranger and connected with every person he encountered. He loved his snowblower and the crunch sound the snow makes when you drive over it in the truck. He completely embraced the change of pace and cooler weather in Minnesota and was like a toddler experiencing snow for the first time. His wit, kitchen dance moves, and spontaneous singing never failed to make us laugh. Johnathon will forever be missed; Our adventure will not be the same without him.
Celebrations of Life will be held at a later date in Indiana and Texas.
In lieu of flowers, the family asks that donations be sent to Habitat for Humanity, which was to be Johnathon’s next great adventure this spring, or to LifeSource, an organ donation organization. Our tragedy became miracles for countless people as he gave the gift of life to them in one last selfless act.
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