Franklin Jerome “Jerry” Wetzel, 74, of Mansfield, died Tuesday, October 27, 2009, at MedCentral Mansfield Hospital. Born November 29, 1934, in Mansfield, he was the son of Frank and Jenny Schuster Wetzel. Jerry, as everyone called him, was the ultimate caregiver and epitomized service to all. He was a member of St. Peter’s Catholic Church and the Knights of Columbus. He was known for his charity work throughout our region and his tireless service to the Mansfield Evening Lions Club projects. He had been a member of the Mansfield Area Lions Club since 1998, was Vice President twice and President for six years between 2002 and 2008. He also served as Sight Coordinator for nine years in which he approved exams and glasses for over 300 people in need. He had also been active in the Lions Food Trailer which went to various sites and used the profits to help with the eye program and several other community needs. He was what many would call “The Heart of the Lions Club” in Mansfield. Jerry graciously accepted a top honor from the Lions Club International, known as the Melvin Jones Fellowship Award. This award honors Melvin Jones, the founder of Lions Clubs International Foundation and is the highest form of recognition given by the Foundation. Not just anyone receives the highest form of recognition available and Jerry shares this award with the former President Jimmy Carter. As an award winner, his name will be added to an exhibit listing all past and present recipients displayed at LCIF Headquarters in Chicago, Illinois. Jerry spent 32 memorable years with General Motors as a supervisor. After graduating from high school in 1952, he went to serve our country in the U.S. Air Force for four years. His skills obtained from his life’s work at General Motors provided him the opportunity to work as an instructor at NCSC teaching skilled trades. He was a gentleman, an irreplaceable person for not only his beloved family, but his friends and the people for whom his generosity touched. He is survived by his devoted, loving wife of 55 years, Jane Peyssard Wetzel; sons, Steven Sherry Wetzel of Mesa, AZ, Kevin Marie Wetzel of Mansfield, Mark Wetzel of Chanhassen, MN; daughters, Kimberly Norval Blackwell of Lexington, Anne Doug Bigelow of Crestline; eight grandchildren; seven great-grandchildren; sisters, Norma Bob Mercado of Houston, TX, Charlotte Knecht of Mansfield, and Barb Bob Dunlap of Perrysville; brother-in-law, Francis Biglin; sister-in-law, Anne Edwin Pfahler; and numerous nieces, nephews, cousins and friends. He was preceded in death by his parents and son, Christopher Wetzel.
Friends may visit Sunday, November 1, 2009, from 1-4 p.m. at the Ontario Home of Wappner Funeral Directors. A Vigil Service will be held at 4:00 p.m. Mass of Christian Burial will be held Monday at 10:00 a.m. at St. Peter’s Catholic Church, conducted by Father Tony Borgia. Burial will follow in Mansfield Memorial Park with military honors by the Richland County Joint Veterans Burial Detail. Memorial contributions may be made to the Lions Club or St. Peter’s Catholic Church.
As a tribute to Jerry’s legacy of service to the Lions Club, all locations of Wappner Funeral Directors will serve as a drop off point for anyone wishing to donate eyeglasses.