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Bernard William Wenning Jr. III, residing in Charlotte NC, passed away on May 16, 2023.
Ben was born on September 4, 1935, and grew up in West Long Branch, NJ and lived there until he was 21 years old. He graduated from Red Bank Catholic High School in 1954. He initially worked for William’s Sign Painting in West Long Branch until he joined the US Navy in 1955. Ben was stationed at Boeing Airforce base, in Washington DC, for four years. He married his bride, Dot, in 1957. Ben moved his family to Vienna, VA in 1963 where he volunteered with the Vienna Volunteer Fire Department and served as the President of the fire department for several years. Ben worked for the Federal Aviation Administration as an air traffic controller at both Dulles International Airport and Reagan National Airport. The family moved to Charlotte, NC in 1978 when Ben accepted the position of Deputy Chief of the Tower at Charlotte Douglas International Airport. He worked in that capacity until his retirement.
Ben was ordained as a permanent deacon in the Diocese of Charlotte in 1988 and served in that calling for 22 years. During his time, he served as the Director of Deacons for the diocese. Ben was the first deacon assigned to the Airport Chaplaincy at Charlotte Douglas International Airport, serving on the Airport Chaplaincy Board. He was the Assistant Director of Post Ordination Affairs and Vicar of the Charlotte Region. At St. Gabriel Catholic Church he taught RCIA, and worked in the Marriage Encounter Program, along with his many other deaconate duties and responsibilities. Ben truly was a deacon’s deacon, a mentor, and a friend to many.
During Ben’s lifetime he enjoyed camping with his wife and children, vacationing at the beach, and going on cruises. He loved his church activities and church community. He was artistically gifted and enjoyed framing artwork, woodworking, painting, spending time with his Marriage Encounter friends, and being the President of the neighborhood HOA, where he and Dot resided. He was the designated pot stirrer each Christmas season, as he helped his wife make homemade fudge. Spending time with Dot and the family brought him the most pleasure. He was known as Mr. Wonderful to his grandchildren and great grandchildren. Ben was a big practical joker and was well known for his hilarious sense of humor and witty responses.
Ben is survived by his wife of 66 years Dot Wenning; his five children and their spouses, Michael (Lydia), Cathy, Linda (Doug), Mark (Alisa), Mary (Jeff); fifteen grandchildren and their spouses Emily, Malena (Daniel), Ben, Matthew (Sarah), Michele (Kirk), Davy, Jessica (Ryan), Kelley, Zack, Tanner, Tori, Jeffrey (Amber), Rachael, Kate; ten great grandchildren Kiley, Emma Grace, Lathan, Paisley, Christian, Bryson, Avery, Ava, Riley, and Walker; his brother Joe (Gioconda); his sisters Barbara Ann (Frank), Louise (Joe), Millie (Dan), and multiple nieces and nephews; and a large community of friends.
Ben was preceded in death by his mother and father, one sister, three brothers and his grandson, Michael.
The visitation will take place on Thursday May 25th from 10-11am at St. Gabriel Catholic Church 3016 Providence Road Charlotte with a. Funeral Mass immediately following the visitation..
In lieu of flowers, a donation may be made to the Center for Pediatric Behavioral Health in Wilmington, NC. This is to honor Ben’s grandson Michael, who passed away unexpectedly on March 2, 2023. Michael who was employed as the Associate Director for the Early Learner Program at the center, was excited about the new space that CPBH had been planning, and the ability to install an outdoor playground for the center’s children. All donations will fund the installation of the new playground which will be dedicated to Michael. Donations can be made by using the donation button at www.centerforpediatricbehavioralhealth.com.or by writing a check and mailing it to Center for Pediatric Behavioral Health at 720 St. James Drive Wilmington, NC 28403. Donations made to CPBH are non-tax deductible.