Darrell Wesenberg

Darrell Marvin Wesenberg passed away unexpectedly at age 78, on Monday, July 30, 2018.

Darrell was born and raised in Verona, WI. He always said that he had an ideal childhood and often shared stories of his time growing up in Verona and of adventures with his lifelong friends and cherished family. Darrell graduated in 1957 from Verona High School and then attended the University of Wisconsin, Madison. It was there that he received his Ph.D. in Agronomy in 1968.

He was married to the love of his life, Janice Marie Peterson, in 1968 in Minnesota. The couple then moved to Idaho where Darrell began his career as a plant breeder for the USDA Agricultural Research Service (ARS). In his 33 years with the ARS, he developed barley and oat varieties that were used extensively by growers and industry nationwide. In 1986, he became Research Leader and oversaw the design and construction of the National Small Grains Germplasm Research Facility at the Aberdeen facility. He retired from the ARS in 2001 and was inducted into the Eastern Idaho Agricultural Hall of Fame in 2007.

Darrell and Janice had three daughters: Jennifer, Karen, and Carole. He cherished his family, and he was a devoted husband, father, grandfather, father-in-law, and friend. He was an avid outdoorsman. His love of fishing was vast; a passion that he shared with his family and many of his dearest friends and passed on to his grandson Ethan. It was central to his love of Lake Kabetogama, where he spent summer vacations with his parents as a boy and then with his own family. Darrell and Janice spent their summers “at the Lake” since their retirement. Darrell was also an avid supporter of public television, public radio, and several wildlife and land conservation organizations, as well as the University of Wisconsin.

Darrell was preceded in death by: his wife, Janice, in 2014; his parents, Dorothy and Elmer Wesenberg; mother-in-law, Irma Peterson; nephews, Brad Walker and Mark Peterson; and many Aunts, Uncles, and Cousins. He also lost many dear friends over the years that he always remembered fondly.

Darrell is survived by: his children, Jennifer (David) Karls, Redmond, WA; Karen (Jim) Wesenberg-Ward, Butte, MT; and Carole Wesenberg, Blackfoot, ID; and special friend Jeremy Brown, Blackfoot, ID; as well as his grandchildren, Sarah Karls and Ethan Karls. Darrell is further survived by his sisters, Carole (David) Janisch and Barbara (Conrad) Feller, cousins, nieces, nephews, and many remarkable and cherished friends across the country. He will be deeply missed.

The family is grateful to the emergency personnel who helped them on the day of his death. Darrell requested cremation and no formal services. The family will hold a private remembrance at a later date.

The family suggests memorial contributions in memory of Dr. Darrell M. Wesenberg be made to one of the following organizations that Darrell supported and are working to preserve places that he loved.

  • Idaho Conservation League Endowment Fund, P.O Box 844, Boise, ID 83701 or online at IdahoConservation.org
  • Natural Resources Foundation of Wisconsin (please reference Friends of Wyalusing State Park Endowment Fund), P.O. Box 2317, Madison, WI 53701 or online at donatenow.networkforgood.org/Wisconservation
  • Kabetogama Fire and EMS at P.O. Box 189, Kabetogama, MN 56669.

Condolences may be left at www.greenlarsen.com. Arrangements are with Green-Larsen Mortuary Inc., International Falls.

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