Serving West Michigan Since 1899

Lee H. Wenke

July 4, 1938 - June 30, 2022
Holland, MI


Life Story / Obituary


Lee Henry Wenke entered into eternal rest on June 30, 2022.

He leaves his wife Joan, of 61 and a half years, and three children: Curtis Wenke, Joni Foster (Shawn), Donna Jones (Mark) and four grandchildren: Taylor, Kalyn, Joel Jones and James Kelly. Lee leaves his sister, Lois Sulka (Gary); sisters-in-law, Lucille Schroeder and Suzanne Buteyn, as well as, many nephews and nieces.

Lee was born in Portage, Michigan on July 4, 1938, son of Hendriks and Abbie Wenke. He graduated from Hope College in 1960. After a year of graduate school, Lee taught German and history for six years at Everett High School in Lansing, Michigan. He ran for Congress as a peace candidate in the 6 th Congressional District during 1963. In 1966, he entered a new career as a Development Officer at Hope College. Lee pursued that career all his working life with assignments at at Southern Methodist University in Dallas, Texas, Temple University in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, Western Michigan University Foundation In Kalamazoo, Michigan and the University of Montana in Missoula.

Lee opened his own consulting business in 1995. He consulted with over 50 non-profit organizations including many of the Church of the Nazarene and the Seventh Day Adventist colleges and universities.

Lee volunteered with the World Bank and ACDI VOCA to help underdeveloped countries in South America. In East Africa, he was employed by the Nazarene church to help develop the internet for their institutions, non-profits, church-related schools and seminaries. He loved these international experiences.

Lee’s genius was his strong vision for the future – seeing and believing in it so strongly that he could convince people to give generously. He helped to define the ethos of the institutions he worked with and was very effective in projecting it to the public. He truly believed that life is a trust and that God created each one of us for a special purpose.

In 2004 Lee and Joan retired in Holland, Michigan where they had a history together. They met in 1956 as students and married in 1960. They shared a love for Hope which has sustained them and enhanced their lives most especially during retirement years. A lifelong learner, Lee was a member of HASP. He was known for his curiosity and probing questions. Lee was a loving, generous husband, father and grandfather. He was an avid gardener, known for the beauty of his yard. He was a voracious reader and enjoyed intellectual sparring. He was an active member of Hope Church and a former deacon.

The family will receive visitors on Thursday, July 14, from 12:00pm to 1:00pm at Hope Church, 77 West 11th Street, Holland. A funeral ceremony will be held following visitation at 1:00pm at Hope Church. Reverend Jill Russel presiding. A graveside ceremony and interment will take place in Lakewood Cemetery.

Memorial donations may be made to the Hope Church Memorial Fund or to Hope College Alumni Fund.

Funeral arrangements are under the auspices of the Dykstra Funeral Home - Downtown Chapel.