Arthur C. Wenzel, lll passed away peacefully on January 5, 2019 in Morris Plains, New Jersey with family members at his side. He was 97 years old. Born in Newark, N.J., Art lived most of his adult years, along with his wife Joyce of over 70 years, in Chatham, N.J. Many of their summers were spent at their family home on Long Beach Island, N.J. They lived for over 15 years at Seabrook Village in Tinton Falls, N.J. Art spent the past 2 years living at Sunrise Assisted Living in Morris Plains, N.J. During his 2 years at Sunrise Assisted Living, he often mentioned that their entire staff were some of the most compassionate people that he had ever met.
Art is survived by his oldest son Ray, his wife Carolyn, and daughter in law Melissa. He and Joyce also have another son, Russ, who passed away 10 years ago. One of Art’s greatest joys over the years, has been spending a great deal of time with his grandchildren including Corey, Mike, Brian, Scott, and Steve, along with his 6 great grandchildren Ryan, Andrew, Kyle, Kaitlin, Bryce, and Kayla.
Art attended Irvington High School and began college at Drexel University. When World War ll began, Art dropped out of college and enlisted in the United States Army. He was trained and assigned to the medical corps where he became a medic. He fought with the Texas 36th Infantry Division. His initial assignment was in Northern Africa. He then became on of the first Americans to step foot on European soil during the D-day landing and invasion at Salerno, Italy. He remained in Italy for the entire campaign until the Germans were driven out of Rome. From there, Art was a part of the D-Day landing in Southern France, and then moved with the Allied Forces throughout Germany. At this point, Art returned to N.J. and was married to Joyce G. Wenzel of Maplewood. Following his monthlong leave, he returned for a second tour of duty in both Germany and Austria. Art always has mentioned that one of his proudest moments was when the Texas 36th Infantry Division was a part of the liberation of the Landsberg concentration camp in April, 1945.
For his service, Art was awarded 2 Purple Hearts for injuries sustained during battles, 2 Bronze Stars for bravery during combat, 2 Invasion Arrowheads, and was recommended for the Distinguished Service Cross. In 2009, Art attended a ceremony in New York City where the Government of France awarded him with their country’s highest military honor, The Legion of Honor. In 2005, as a part of their oral history project, Rutgers University wrote an essay about Art’s WWll experiences. It is available both in hard copy and online. Over the years, he attended many of the 36th Division’s reunions.
Following the war, Art completed his college education at Rutgers in New Brunswick, N.J. He then went to work for Esso which then became Exxon. He and Joyce raised their 2 sons in Chatham, N.J., Haddonfield, N.J. and then back to Chatham where they lived for parts of 4 decades. During his carrier with Exxon, he also had overseas assignments in Southeast Asia. Art was active in the Chatham ice hockey program and became a founding member of the KHICS youth developmental program. An avid sports fan, he attended many of his favorite team’s games including the Yankees, the Rangers, and the Giants. Following his retirement from Exxon, Art became a president of the Exxon annuitants club and was an active member of the Chatham United Methodist Church.