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Beginning his career as an office boy at CARADCO, Wendt moved into administration and remained with the company until his retirement. Wendt worked nearly fifty years at CARADCO. When the company moved from Dubuque in 1977, Wendt, then chairman of the board of the Oregon based Jeld-Wen, bought the former Dubuque facilities of Caradco.
Upon his death, $220,000 was donated to FINLEY HOSPITAL (THE). In 1987 the Wendt family donated one million dollars, believed to be the largest health care gift in Dubuque history, to Finley to establish its cancer center. The facility was named the Wendt Regional Cancer Center to commemorate the continued support of the Wendt family for the hospital. (1)
Many other local organizations received sizable bequests including LUTHER MANOR nursing home, $330,000; University of Dubuque Center for the Advancement of Ethics, $330,000; DUBUQUE BOYS' CLUB, $220,000; YOUNG WOMEN'S CHRISTIAN ASSOCIATION (Y.W.C.A.), $165,000; YOUNG MEN'S CHRISTIAN ASSOCIATION (Y.M.C.A.), $165,000; DUBUQUE COUNTY HISTORICAL SOCIETY, $5,000; SAINT MARK LUTHERAN CHURCH, $12,500; and the Dubuque Post of the Salvation Army, $165,000. Gifts to the historical society and St. Mark's were in cash. Other bequests were in stock that was to be sold back to family members. The UNIVERSITY OF DUBUQUE hosted a Lester G. and Michael Wendt Lecture Series. (2) He was chosen to the DUBUQUE BUSINESS HALL OF FAME in 1987. (3)
1. Blocker, Sue. "Finley to Get $1 Million Gift," Telegraph Herald, September 2, 1987, p. 3
2. 'Dead Man Walking' Author to Speak at UD," Telegraph Herald, March 3, 2015, p. 3
3. Blocker, Sue. "Dubuque Business Hall of Fame Honors 8 at Induction Ceremony," Telegraph Herald, January 18, 1989, p. 15