Wendels named Corn Carnival Parade grand marshals

T-R PHOTO BY MARGARET THOMSEN The 2017 Corn Carnival Grand Marshals Judy and Marvin Wendel are pictured by one of their trucks. The couple has been hauling lime and quarry materials in the Gladbrook area for more than 50 years.

GLADBROOK — The Gladbrook Corn Carnival Corporation has named Marvin and Judy Wendel as the 2017 Corn Carnival Parade grand marshals.

“Judy and Marvin have been longtime local business owners as well as being involved with the success of Corn Carnival for many years. We are honored to have them serve as grand marshals for our 95th celebration,” said Corn Carnival Corporation President Teri Luehring.

The Wendels and the big Schade Lime and Rock trucks are well known to farmers in the area. Judy’s parents, Les and Vivian Schade, moved to Gladbrook in 1949 and began Schade’s Lime and Rock in 1953. Marvin started driving truck for Les right after he and Judy were married. The Wendels bought the business in 1984. Judy started driving truck in 1978. And as they say, “The rest is history.”

Marvin grew up west of Gladbrook on the family farm with his parents, Nick and Margaret, Wendell. His earliest memories of Corn Carnival were when he was around seven and they would go to town on Saturday night. He always loved the merry-go-round. Marvin began farming as soon as he graduated from Gladbrook High School.

As for Judy, who can forget the bubbly, blond Schade girl with the long pony-tail bounding her way along the floor of the Vets Auditorium during the 1959 and 1960 State Girls Basketball Championships in Des Moines. Following graduation, Judy attended airline school in Omaha. She moved to Chicago to work as a teletype operator for United Airlines.

Even though the couple were both raised in Gladbrook they did not really know one another. And then one fateful weekend, Judy was visiting at the home of her best friend, Pat Gethmann, and the handsome farmer from west of town and a friend were “out driving around.” They decided to give Judy a ride home — all of a few blocks. The couple had one date and Judy returned to Chicago to work. For the next two years the couple dated every three weeks when Judy would get a long weekend off. And on Feb. 14, 1962, Marvin traveled to Chicago and proposed! The couple were wed at Peace United Church of Christ on June 2 that same year — now marking 55 years of marriage.

The couple farmed until retiring in 2009 and rented out their Century Farm. They also sold the custom grain truck at that time. But they kept on trucking — hauling tons and tons of rock and lime for patrons.

They have two children and a handful of grandchildren and great-grandchildren.

Community activities have been played an important role in the Wendels’ lives. Marvin was in the Jaycees and served as Peace United Church of Christ Board President. Judy taught fourth-grade Sunday School class and she sings in the Peace Church Choir. They both loved to dance and were in a card club for many years. They have always loved entertaining family and friends.

The Wendels’ involvement with Corn Carnival started about 40 years ago by feeding the men when they set up the Monday before and tore down the Monday following the carnival. This included the huge tent on Main Street for vendors to display their goods. They donate the sand pile for the Saturday kids day, watch over the kids playing in the sand, sponsor the basketball shot and for the past three years they have been in charge of the Saturday tractor ride.

When queried as to memories of Corn Carnival they both recalled the huge crowds and the dances with big name bands. Having Schade’s business on Main Street meant family and friends stopping by to say hi and use the bathroom. In later years it meant having a motorhome in the empty lot east of the pool hall so Vivian wouldn’t miss anything. Over the years there were beds made on the pool hall floor so the little ones could go to sleep and the adults could stay in town and reminisce with friends until all hours. The grandkids sold pop out of the big door of the office and there were a lot of class reunions on the east side of the building.

“Marvin got the truck ready for me to drive through the parade for so many years,” Judy said

And now in 2017 the Wendels can add one more poignant memory as grand marshals of the Corn Carnival Parade.

The parade will take place at 6:30 p.m. Friday, June 23.

Gladbrook Corn Carnival

Daily Events

Midway Rides and Games

Sweet Corn

Food Stand

Quilt Raffle

Free Music and Entertainment on Main

T-shirt Sales

Matchstick Marvels

Beer Garden

Gladbrook Museum

Thursday, June 22

• Collectors’ Fair 10 a.m. to 9 p.m., Memorial Building

• Matchstick Marvels 1-9 p.m.

• Superior Equipment Rides & Midway 7-11 p.m. (Ride wrist bands $25)

• Little Miss & Mr. Corn Carnival 6:15 p.m., City Park

• Corn Cob Queen Crowning 6:15 p.m., City Park

• Kiddies Parade 6:30 p.m., City Park

Music on Main — Country Classic Four, 7:30 p.m., east end of Main Street

Friday, June 23

• Merchant & Business Exhibits, Central Iowa Railroad Exhibit & Gladbrook Trophy Display 3-10 p.m. (closed during parade)

• Superior Equipment Rides & Midway 7-11 p.m. (Ride wrist bands $25)

• Matchstick Marvels, 1-6:30 p.m., 7:30-9 p.m.

• Movie at Gladbrook Theater, 1:30 p.m.

• Hovick Petting Zoo 4-9 p.m., just off Main Street

• Grand parade, 6:30 p.m.

• Music on Main — Vinyl Frontier Band after the parade, east end of Main Street

Saturday, June 24

• Breakfast On Main, 7:30-10 a.m., Shuffle board court Main Street

• Tractor Ride Registration at 7 a.m., Main Street

• 5K Walk/Run Register at 7a.m., race at 8 a.m.

• Sand Volleyball, 9 a.m., City Park ($35 per team)

• Cribbage ($1) Pepper ($1) & 500 ($2) Card Tournament 8:30 a.m., registration at City Centre

• Kids’ Activities, 10 a.m., City Park, Register at 9 a.m.

• Bean Bag Tournament, 12:30 p.m. Registration, Beer Garden (21 and up only)

• Superior Equipment Rides & Midway, 1-5 p.m. and 6-10 p.m. (Ride wrist bands $25 each)

• Matchstick Marvels 1-7 p.m.

• Movie at Gladbrook Theater, 1:30 p.m.

• Merchant & Business Exhibits, Central Iowa Railroad Exhibit & Gladbrook Trophy Display, 1-7 p.m., Upstairs City Centre

• Classic Car Cruise Register 1 p.m., Cruise at 4:30 p.m. ($1,000 in door prizes)

• Entertainment on Main — Bobbi’s Fancy Dancers, 6 p.m.

• Texas Gold Barbershop Quartet featuring Gladbrook’s Bob Wiese, 7:30 p.m., Gladbrook Theater

• Fireworks, 10 p.m.

Sunday, June 25

• Community Church Service 10:30 a.m., Gladbrook Theater

• Omelet Breakfast 8 a.m. to 12:30 p.m., Peace Church