The Rev. James “Jim” R. Wentz died on August 5, 2014 at the age of 79. Jim was born on August 17, 1934 to Orville and Louise. He graduated from Indiana Central University (now University of Indianapolis) with a Bachelor of Arts in 1961 and from Meadville Lombard Theological School with a Bachelor of Divinity in 1966. He went on to receive a Master of Science from the University of Bridgeport in 1981.
Rev. Wentz was ordained to the ministry in 1966 by the All Souls Unitarian Church of Indianapolis, IN. He was first called to the Unitarian Universalist Society of Oneonta, NY in 1966, and served the congregation until 1976. He then served the South Nassau Unitarian Universalist Congregation of Freeport, NY, from 1976 to 1980.
After retiring from parish ministry, Jim began officiating weddings, and built a business around the practice. He was known as “Rev. I Do.” He performed weddings for over three decades, and presided over his daughter’s and son’s ceremonies. Jim also had a few “15 minutes of fame” marrying couples on both the Ricki Lake Show and Les Brown Show.
Jim was active within the denomination. He served as a delegate to the New York State Convention of Universalists’ Annual Meetings from 1966 to 1976; part-time administrative secretary to the St. Lawrence Unitarian Universalist District from 1971 to 1976; vice president of the Iroquois Chapter of the Unitarian Universalists Ministers Association (UUMA) from 1972 to 1973; president of the Iroquois Chapter of the UUMA from 1973 to 1974; and treasurer of the Metro District Chapter of the UUMA from 1978 to 1980. Even after his retirement from parish ministry, Jim was an active member of the New York Metro District of the UUMA .
Jim was a philosopher, thought-leader, and writer, recently authoring a book offering his spiritual perspective in the quest for making the world a better place. He brought his interest in writing and humor to regular participation in the New Yorker’s cartoon caption contest as well as limericks for his children and grandchildren at birthday and holiday occasions. Like his father, Jim was a jack-of-all-trades, knowledgeable and handy in many aspects of home improvement. His strong qualities of patience, kindness, and understanding was seen when teaching the basics of power tools, beginner’s chess, and life lessons such as, “Do the best you can.”
Jim is survived by his daughter, Lisa Medley (Roger Medley); son, Nicholas Wentz (Lori Wentz); sister, Lucille Wentz; former wife, Sara Angus; and grandchildren, Nicholas Wentz Jr., Shayla Wentz, and Miles Medley.
A memorial service will be held on November 1, 2014 at 1:00 P.M., at the Unitarian Universalist Congregation at Shelter Rock, 48 Shelter Rock Road, Manhasset, NY 11030.
In lieu of flowers, donations may be made to UNICEF (www.unicef.org