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Encyclopedia Dubuque


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Affiliated with the Local History Network of the State Historical Society of Iowa, and the Iowa Museum Association.

WENDT, Lester

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WENDT, Lester. (Dubuque, IA-Dubuque, IA, Jan. 31,1981). Chairman of the board, Caradco and chairman of the board of Jeld -Wen. Wendt and his family made many contributions to Dubuque including the establishment of the Wendt Regional Cancer Center at the FINLEY HOSPITAL and the founding of the Center for Advancement of Business Ethics at the UNIVERSITY OF DUBUQUE.

Beginning his career as an office boy at Caradco, Wendt moved into administration and remained with the company until his retirement. Upon his death, $220,000 was donated to the Finley Hospital. In 1987 the Wendt family donated one million dollars, believed to be the largest health care gift in Dubuque history, to Finley to establish the cancer center.

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; ppDUBUQUE COUNTY HISTORICAL SOCIETY[[, $5,000; SAINT MARK'S EVANGELICAL 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.

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.