Milford D. Wedel, age 91, of McPherson, Kansas, passed away Sunday, July 19, 2020, at his home. He was born September 26, 1928 in a farmhouse in Galva, Kansas, to Hilkie P. and Lena (Wedel) Wedel.
He attended grade schools in Galva and McPherson and high school in Potwin and Moundridge, all in Kansas.
Milford’s family moved to Los Angeles, California during the height of World War II for a short time.
After moving back, he married Jane Anne Regier on February 6, 1948 in Moundridge, Kansas. They were blessed with 73 wonderful years together. Three children were born to this union, Susan Kay, David Ray and Danna Gay. He and Jane lived in Moundridge until his retirement in 1991, after working 43 years at the Moundridge Journal/Ledger as a printer and later advertising manager. They then moved to Grove, Oklahoma to enjoy living on Grand Lake where he and Jane had weekend get-aways for many years prior to retirement. After 20 years on the lake, they moved to McPherson. They have been members of the West Zion Mennonite Church, Moundridge.
Milford loved music. He got his first guitar at the age of 7. He was taught to play rhythm correctly by his father. He sometimes got a light tap on the head with a violin bow if he wasn’t getting it just right. He played his first paying job in 1938 with his father, brother and another local fiddle player and violin maker in McPherson for $1 – quite a sum for depression times.
Milford performed with his brother, Clayton, at local movie theaters and PTA meetings in country schools in the area.
In 1939 at the age of 11, Milford entered a contest sponsored by Royal Crown Cola. First prize was a 4week spot on KSAL radio station in Salina, Kansas. He won the finals with the song "Back in the Saddle Again" (Gene Autry) and a Bob Wills’ song "Sugar Moon". The job paid $9 a week and it cost $6 a week to be driven from McPherson to Salina.
He later went on to play at numerous Legion Halls, VFW’s and Elk and Moose Lodges in the central Kansas area. Milford played in several different bands – "Flying V Boys", "Country Men", the "Chapperals", "Southern Comfort" and "Doc McCready’s Lost Creek Band". He was guitar player, vocalist and composer.
On October 1, 2000, Milford was inducted into the Western Swing Society Hall of Fame in Sacramento, California. He shares this honor with such performers as Gent Autry, Roy Rogers, Dale Evans, Bob Wills, Spade Cooly, members of the "Sons of the Pioneers", Leon McAuliff, Merl Haggard, Jana Jae and many others.
He was preceded in death by his parents and his only sibling, Clayton Dean Wedel.
Milford is survived by his wife, Jane, of the home; daughter, Susan Leonard (Joe) of Hutchinson; son, Dave Wedel (Mindi) of McPherson; daughter Danna Owens (Scott) of McPherson; grandchildren, Shelly Helm (Troy), Highland Ranch, CO., Rhonda James (Jon), Pawnee, OK., Todd Leonard (Michelle), Overland Park, KS., Tisha Hoover (Jason), McPherson, KS., Chad Wedel (Jill), McPherson, KS., Kindra Schmidt (Craig), Moundridge, KS., Chance Pearson (Heidi), McPherson, KS.; seventeen great-grandchildren and one great-great-granddaughter and other cousins and a host of friends.
Milford "Mil", as he was known by many, was a people person and made many long-lasting friends along the way. He will be missed by all who knew him.
Graveside services will be held at 9:30 a.m., Monday, July 27, 2020 at West Zion Cemetery, Moundridge, KS. Memorial contributions may be made to West Zion Church in care of Moundridge Funeral Home, PO Box 410, Moundridge, KS 67107.