Cover photo for Wendell R. Essley's Obituary

Wendell R. Essley

June 28, 1931 — January 5, 2023

Wendell R. Essley

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Wendell R. Essley, 91, Post Falls, ID, passed away January 5, 2023, at The Schneidmiller House in Coeur d’Alene, ID.

He was born June 28, 1931, in Viola, IL, to Wendell F. and Irene Essley.

Wendell went to Viola Grade School where as a small community they had all eight grades in one school.  In the 6th grade he became interested in music and started playing the trumpet.  He was also part of the baseball and basketball teams.  Wendell graduated from Viola as the Valedictorian and was also the Valedictorian of his graduating class of 1949 from Coeur d’Alene High School.

In 1945, his family moved to Coeur d’Alene and he spent the next 4 years at Coeur d’Alene High where he played the trumpet in the band and orchestra.  He was the president of his sophomore class and was a member of the Honors Society all four years.  Wendell served one year on the Student Council and belonged to the Latin Club.

As a teenager Wendell enjoyed playing in a dance band at “The Little Round Table Club”.  Many of his happy years were spent in the DeMolay Organization where he became a Master Counselor.

Wendell attended North Idaho Junior College where he became interested in chorus.  He then enrolled at Washington State College and was a member of the Phi Gamma Delta Fraternity.  He worked on the weekends with musical groups throughout the area.  In 1953, he graduated with a BA Degree in Business and married Ella Claire Courtney that same year.  He was then drafted in the US Army and served 2 years and was discharged in 1955.  Wendell and Ella Claire had 3 daughters over the next 3 years.

After his discharge he started working at Mobil Oil in Spokane, WA.  In 1959, moved to Coeur d’Alene where he began working for Forest Auto Wrecking. In 1962, he opened his own business “Essley Auto Wrecking”.  Wendell grew and expanded the business into a regionally known enterprise.

In 1971, they purchased 5 acres where they raised their family.  He really loved living in Idaho and it had always been his dream for this kind of life.

Wendell is past president of the Musicians Union, served on the board of directors for Phi Gamma Delta, For-Mark, Inc., and past president of North West Quik-Way Teletype Line.  He was an active member of the V8 and Edsel Car Clubs; traveling to many conventions and car shows in Canada and the US.  He was a member of the Early Ford Classic Car Collectors.  He enjoyed playing his weekly Penny Poker games with the guys.

His wife Ella Claire passed away on November 8, 2000.  They were married for 47 years.

He is survived by his 3 daughters: Jereen (Tom), Dona (John), and Linda (Ben); 5 grandchildren; 4 great grandchildren; brother John (Carolyn); life partner for the last 21 years Vonnie Satchwell.

Visitation will be from 10:00 a.m. to 12:00 p.m. with a funeral service at 1:00 p.m. on Saturday January 14, 2023, at the English Funeral Chapel in Coeur d’Alene, ID.  Burial will take place at Forest Cemetery in Coeur d’Alene, ID.   A reception will follow the graveside serve at the funeral chapel.

To order memorial trees or send flowers to the family in memory of Wendell R. Essley, please visit our flower store.

Past Services

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Saturday, January 14, 2023

10:00am - 12:00 pm (Pacific time)

English Funeral Chapel and Crematory

1133 N. 4th St, Coeur d'Alene, ID 83814

Enter your phone number above to have directions sent via text. Standard text messaging rates apply.

Funeral Service

Saturday, January 14, 2023

Starts at 1:00 pm (Pacific time)

English Funeral Chapel and Crematory

1133 N. 4th St, Coeur d'Alene, ID 83814

Enter your phone number above to have directions sent via text. Standard text messaging rates apply.

Interment

Saturday, January 14, 2023

Enter your phone number above to have directions sent via text. Standard text messaging rates apply.

Reception

Saturday, January 14, 2023

English Funeral Chapel and Crematory

1133 N. 4th St, Coeur d'Alene, ID 83814

Enter your phone number above to have directions sent via text. Standard text messaging rates apply.

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