MOVILLE, Iowa | The community of Moville remembered one of its best "characters" as the life of Wesley John Roeschke was celebrated in a funeral service on Saturday at Moville United Methodist Church.
Roeschke, 83, died April 5, surrounded by his family.
Wes Roeschke was known as a true jack-of-all-trades. A 1951 graduate of Lawton High School, he joined the U.S. Navy and served aboard the aircraft carrier the USS Oriskany overseas, logging time aboard the ship alongside Alan Shepard, who would become the first American in space.
Wes was honorably discharged in 1954. He married Donna Davis in 1955 and the couple spent six years living and working in Anaheim, California, saving money to purchase the Woodbury County farm that would be their residence the following 55 years.
The couple raised two children and devoted themselves to family, church, community and country. Few were more patriotic than Wes, and very few worked harder.
Wes was the cover feature in a Sioux City Journal "Farm Weekly" publication in 1968, a story that detailed his adoption of no-till practices. In 1999 he earned the Century Conservation Farmer of the Year honor.
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When not raising corn, beans and livestock, Wes kept tabs on the political scene, often writing "Mini" editorials and Letters to the Editor for the Journal.
He also served as chairman of the board for the Moville United Methodist Church for years and helped oversee various parts of the church's food stand at the Woodbury County Fair.
He could weld, build houses, restore Chevrolet pickups and drive school bus.
Tales of Wes' dedication came through in his memorial service. His penchant for fixing things resulted in a church policy that nobody could work on or near the roof without a second volunteer. This came about after Wes scaled a ladder to address something on the steep roof. The ladder then fell, leaving Wes stranded for a time until Moville resident Mike Weaver came upon the scene and helped Wes to the ground.
Neighbor Mark Nelson shared a story that revealed Wes' workmanlike approach, as well as his humorous take on things. Nelson said he was working outside across the road from the Roeschke residence when Donna pulled into the driveway one afternoon. Donna got out of the car and opened the trunk to let Wes get out.
"I asked Wes what he'd done to make Donna so upset so as to have him ride home in the trunk!" Nelson said.
Apparently, Wes had heard something rattling around in the back of the car. Getting in the trunk while Donna drove, he figured, was the best way to pinpoint the source.
The congregation laughed, pinpointing the source of a tale that sounded bizarre, and yet so Wes Roeschke, if you were lucky enough to know him, his mischievous smile, and loving wink.