Farming Rural 22

John William Wickenkamp

September 27, 1927 ~ July 31, 2022 (age 94)


John William Wickenkamp, 94, died in the early morning on Sunday, July 31, 2022.  Born September 27, 1927, in Belleville, Illinois, to Katherine and John A. Wickenkamp, he grew up in Sigourney, Iowa, frequenting the swimming hole at Bridge Creek and working as a soda jerk in the local drugstore.  He studied engineering at the University of Iowa, graduating in 1949 and immediately getting a job in Newton as one of the first ten tool engineers at Maytag’s new Plant 2.  Luckily, he took a room to rent in a house with a porch swing where he sat and swung with the girl next door.  After a tour in Korea with the Army Corps of Engineers, he married Marilyn Kool on Memorial Day, 1952.

John, with his ever-present pocket protector full of pens and mechanical pencils, enjoyed taking pictures of their growing family and using his ham radio as a certified weather spotter, sometimes lamenting the fact they hadn’t bought a house on a higher hilltop.  He experimented with solar panels and wind power while tending a family-sized apple orchard and a few hives of honey bees. He retired from Maytag in 1989 and appreciated having time to go to coffee with the Radio Club and to keep up with projects around the house and acreage.

John was a long-time brother in good standing in the Newton congregation of Jehovah’s Witnesses and used his excellent voice to read during many a Watchtower study.  A fixture at his children’s sporting events, he also possessed a top volume that easily cut through the roar of the crowd.  

John was preceded in death by his parents; his sister, Virginia Detroy; granddaughter, Amy Atwood; and son-in-law, Joe Shelton.  He is survived by his wife, Marilyn, and their children and spouses: Anita Shelton; Goldie and Gene Hettinga; Sarah Wickenkamp and John Nedderman; Alan Wickenkamp; Lisa and Jim Roberts; Gary Wickenkamp; and Gordon and Gina Wickenkamp; as well as grandchildren Laura, Ben, Haley, Emma, and Autumn; great-grandchildren Carleigh, Coral, and Clementine; nephew Mike Detroy; and niece Sheila Miller.

No services are planned, at John’s request.  

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