Former Durango resident Joseph A. Wielang died Friday, June 15, 2012, in Idaho Falls, Idaho. He was 86.
Mr. Wielang was born to Joseph Franklin and Eda Wilhelmina (Schumacher) Wielang on Aug. 31, 1925, at the family home on Reservoir Hill near where Fort Lewis College stands now.
“He had an idyllic childhood, riding horses, hunting, fishing and camping,” his family said.
After graduating from Durango High School in 1943, Mr. Wielang almost immediately enlisted in the Army Air Corps. He was stationed in Foggia, Italy, for the duration of World War II, flying as a gunner on B-17s. Mr. Wielang was recalled to duty during the Korea War.
“He was extremely proud of his service and never tired of recounting his exploits to the grandkids,” his family said.
Mr. Wielang earned a bachelor’s degree from the University of Washington.
On June 14, 1952, he married Gerry Ewing at Lowry Air Force Base Chapel in Denver. The Wielangs celebrated their 60th anniversary the day before his death.
Mr. Wielang was a chemical plant engineer and worked in Minnesota, Missouri, Salt Lake City and Georgetown, Idaho, before retiring from the Idaho National Laboratory in 1985.
He was active in the Catholic retreatCursillo, the Boys Scout of America, the Soup Kitchen and St. Vincent de Paul Food Bank.
Mr. Wielang liked to take his children and grandchildren to the national parks in the west and the family favorite, Canyonlands in southern Utah. He and his wife, Gerry, traveled to Europe four times, and to every state in the union except Alaska and Hawaii. He loved to flyfish and took advantage of any opportunity to do so, even in his later years.
Mr. Wielang is survived by his wife, Gerry Wielang, of Idaho Falls; children Tony Wielang, Marci Cooke, Bruce Wielang and Mary Wilson, all of Idaho Falls, Steve Wielang of Middleton, Idaho, Charles Wielang of Richmond, Wash., and Erik Wielang of McMinnville, Ore.; brother, Robert Wieleng, of Aurora; sister, Mary Alice Slade, of South Jordan, Utah; 12 grandchildren; three step-grandchildren; and nine great-grandchildren.
A funeral Mass was celebrated Saturday, June 23, 2012, at Christ the King Catholic Church in Idaho Falls. Burial took place later that day at Grove City Cemetery in Blackfoot.
In lieu of flowers, memorial contributions may be made to St. Vincent DePaul food bank; Idaho Youth Ranch; or a charity of one’s choice.
Online condolences may be left at www.buckmillerhann.com.