“If you don’t believe me, just ask Patty.”
John F. Wellmann could finish almost every sentence this way:
Of his grandson, “He’s only four, but he’s not afraid to drive anything—”
Of that trip to Kodiak Island, Alaska, “The bear was 10 feet from us, and she was angry– “
Of the highest-scoring inning in MLB history, “They had 17 runs—”
You know how the rest goes.
Patricia (Kill) Wellmann is John’s high school sweetheart and wife of 58 years. As John told us often, she was his life’s love and greatest supporter. John, 81, lost a battle to cancer at home with her and other close family members on December 28, 2021.
John was born December 21, 1940, in Delphos, Ohio to John J. and Irene (Ricker) Wellmann, who both preceded him in death. He was a husband, father, and grandfather. His ancestor, also named John Wellmann, made the 36-day Atlantic voyage from Riemsloh, Germany to help found Delphos, Ohio with a group of settlers in 1842. Our John Wellmann was as dedicated to the land as his namesake. Most of his days began at 4:00 a.m., with a note to Patty scrawled on a yellow legal pad on the kitchen counter before he went to the fields. From sunrise to sunset, he poured everything into his farm. Aside from family, it was his greatest joy. When he had a bad year, he kept farming. When he lost a finger to heavy machinery or narrowly escaped a combine fire, he kept farming. At 79, an oncologist finally said: “John, I’m giving you a doctor’s order to stop working.” Hesitantly, he followed the orders (for the most part, at least).
If you could ask him today what he did with his life, John would say he was “just a farmer.” This humble self-assessment always made his friends and family roll their eyes and shake their heads knowingly. The truth, of course, is that he was the most hardworking and devoted person we knew. His doctor might add that he was also the most stubborn, but I won’t go there. Everything he grew or built, he grew or built for us. If you ever sat down next to him, then you knew how proud he was of his family. What we hope is that he knew how proud we are of him.
John Wellmann never knew a stranger. He was an athlete with uncanny strength; a storyteller; Pinochle player; consummate worrier; ice-cream lover, and a staunch supporter of the Fightin’ Irish. When I say he liked long walks on the beach, I’m not being cliché. It’s one of my most treasured memories from their home in Bonita Springs, Florida. His favorite clothing item was a crew neck sweatshirt, and his favorite chair was usually stolen by a grandchild. His smile was ornery, and his belly-laugh contagious. The money from his swear jar probably paid for a least one child’s college tuition. He stepped up quietly to help those who needed it. Everything he loved, he tried to share with someone else – whether it was a Snickers bar or a performance of the Phantom of the Opera.
The thing about love is that it always outlives the people with whom we’ve chosen to share it. Our hearts are broken with loss, but John Wellmann will forever be part of who we are and how we live. And if you don’t believe me, just ask Patty.
In addition to his wife, John is survived by a daughter, Cheryl (Dr. Thomas) Carmody and their children, Lauren (Clark) Kroger, Thomas, Erin, Ian, and Kelly; a son, Dr. Scott (Dr. Kathaleen (Denis)) Wellmann and their children, Shannon, John, and Joseph, and daughter Nicole (Timothy) Kraus and their children, Olivia, Lily, Gavin, and Gunnar. He is also survived by a sister, Joan Weger of Delphos, and many other loving family members and friends. He was preceded in death by his parents; his brothers, Elmer and Francis; his sister, Mary Johnene, and his brother-in-law, James Weger.
John's obituary was written by his granddaughter Lauren Kroger.
A funeral mass will begin at 1:00 p.m. on Monday, January 3 at St. John the Evangelist Catholic Church. Visitation will be from 2:00 p.m. to 6:00 p.m. on Sunday, January 2 at Weber Funeral Home, 1840 E. Fifth Street, in Delphos. A Parish Wake Service will be held immediately afterwards. We hope you will come celebrate John’s life with us. Please remember to wear a mask.
In lieu of flowers, memorial contributions may be made to St. John’s Teacher’s Endowment Fund.
Online condolences can be shared at weberfh.net
To send flowers to the family or plant a tree in memory of John F. Wellmann, please visit our floral store.