Victor Orvel Wedegaertner, 92, passed away peacefully on October 9, 2016 at the Acute Care Center in Modesto. He was a pig farmer, poultry processor, Fire Chief, woodworker, weaver, lace maker, winemaker, cook, and more. “Vic” was born at the family homestead in Valley Home, California on October 3, 1924. He was the youngest of eight children born to German immigrants, Gustav and Louise Halbgewacks Wedegaertner. He lived most of his life on the family farm where he was born. Vic attended school in Valley Home and Oakdale. While in high school he was active in the FFA, achieving the American Farmer Degree, the organization’s highest honor. His pigs brought home champion ribbons at the 1939 Golden Gate International Exposition (aka World’s Fair) on Treasure Island. After graduating from high school at the beginning of WWII in 1942 he stayed home to run the family farm, which was primarily a farrow to finish enterprise. Later the hog operation transitioned to raising poultry, eventually becoming a poultry processing enterprise. Wedegaertner Poultry became a thriving business and became his life-long occupation. In 1946 he married Edith Jewell Monasmith, who was in nursing school at the time. They remained on the family farm in Valley Home for the next 45 years. While being a devoted husband and father Vic served as Fire Chief of the Valley Home Fire Department. He was a Boy Scout Master, and was active in the Odd Fellows Lodge. Vic was an elected representative of the Valley Home area on the Board of Directors of the Oakdale Irrigation District for many years. During his tenure on the Board they completed construction of the Tri-Dam Project, a series of three dams on the Stanislaus River. These three reservoirs provide irrigation water for farmers in Stanislaus and San Joaquin counties.
In retirement Vic and Jewell built a home in Dorrington, where they lived for 25 years, before moving to Murphys. Together they shared a passion for all types of textile crafts. A large portion of their retirement home was dedicated to these hobbies. They made numerous trips in their faithful motorhome. Vic also took up woodworking. Later in life he was especially proud of his knowledge of bobbin lace and made many treasured pieces. Throughout his life he never lost his enthusiasm for all things German, especially making sausage, sauerkraut, pickled herring, and winemaking. Victor is survived by his wife Jewell of 70 years; four children: Elaine (Jerry), Thomas (Mary Rose), Mark (Sharon), and Paul; as well as grandchildren: Kevin, Olivia, Kurt, Melissa, Jake, Dana and Coby; and four great grandchildren. Victor was preceded in death by his parents, siblings, daughter-in-law Adi and grandson Brian.
The family is planning a Celebration of Life for Vic at the Community United Methodist Church (1480 Poplar Street, Oakdale ) at 11 a.m. on November 5. Donations may be made in Victor’s honor to: Independence Hall Community Center, PO Box 2056, Arnold, CA 95223; www.independencehallarnold.org.
The Oakdale (Calif.) Leader
Oct. 19, 2016