Henry "Hank" Wessel, 79, of Alexandria passed away at his residence in Florence, Arizona on Thursday, December 7, 2023. Funeral services for Hank will take place on Friday, December 22, 2023 at 11:00 AM at St. Mary's Catholic Church in Alexandria. A public visitation will be held on Thursday, December 21, 2023 from 4:00 - 6:00 PM with a prayer service starting at 3:30 PM with a Knights of Columbus Rosary to follow at Anderson Funeral Home, as well as one hour prior to services at the church on Friday. Burial will be at St. Paul Catholic Cemetery in Sauk Centre, Minnesota.
Henry “Hank” John Wessel was born to Lena (Schmitz) and Henry Bernard Wessel on August 17, 1944 in Melrose Minnesota. He was the only child born to the couple who would be raised on farms around Melrose and Sauk Centre. Growing up, Hank enjoyed spending time with his aunts and uncles, playing cards, playing hooky at the pool hall, and spending time with his horses – especial his favorite horse Danny. He graduated at the age of 17 and somehow was able to talk his mother into signing for him to enlist in the United States Navy.
Hank was an electrician on the ships USS Great Sitkin AE-17 and USS Tanner GS-15 where he served for four years from 1961 to 1965, when he was honorably discharged. It was at this time that he met and married Carol J. in New Jersey. To this union a daughter, Marie, was born. Hank lovingly called her Pumpkin. After Carol and Hank’s divorce, Hank fell in love with Bernice “Bing” Crosby after connecting over the telephone and the couple was married at the First Park Baptist Church in Plainfield, New Jersey on July 24, 1976. Hank and Marie quickly became a family with Bing and her boys Kurt and Kris, who were seven and three at the time. As a family they lived in Piscataway, New Jersey and would enjoy playing baseball, horseshoes, cards, and hosting unintentional pool parties with the neighborhood kids. They also enjoyed their summer trips back to Minnesota. It was during one of these trips that Hank attended a high school reunion and was convinced to buy property on Big Horn Bay on Lake Ida. The couple rented out the property until their retirement in 1999, when they moved to Alexandria full time. Hank and Bing enjoyed 42 years of marriage. Bernice “Bing” passed away on September 9, 2018 after a long battle with Multiple Sclerosis and cancer.
During his life, Hank held many jobs. He worked for RCA Electric, Preston Trucking, where he was a member of the teamsters. He was also a bus driver for District 206, where he became acquainted with Phyllis Turner. Phyllis was wonderful friend to both Bing and Hank for over seventeen years, going on many trips with Bing and helping Hank take care of her as her health became worse. After Bing’s passing, Hank and Phyllis became special friends and purchased a home together in Florence, Arizona. Shortly after their arrival in 2023, Hank passed away at their residence. Henry John Wessel passed away on Thursday, December 7, 2023; he was 79 years old.
Hank was a lifelong member of the Catholic Church. One could usually find him at St. Mary’s many times a week – ushering, serving coffee and rolls, or just attending. Hank was also a member of the MSEA, VFW, AOPA for over fifty years, Flying Club of Alexandria (where he served as the president), and the Knights of Columbus, where he was a 4th degree and was at one time the Grand Knight. Hank was also a Chief Steward of Alexandria.
Hank was involved with many organizations and people who will miss him dearly. Left to cherish Hank’s memory are his special friend, Phyllis Turner of Alexandria; children: Marie Lee Wessel, Kurt (Dana) Koegel, Kris Koegel; grandchildren: Sam Koegel, Ryan Albinski, Kate Koegel, Katie Albinski, and Tommy Albinski; along with many other beloved relatives and friends. He is preceded in death by his wife of 42 years, Bing; his parents, Lena and Hank Sr.; and numerous aunts, uncles, cousins, and friends.
Anderson Funeral Home in Alexandria is in charge of arrangements for Hank.