Wendell Short

October 15, 1931November 21, 2018
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Wendell Short, 87, of Mascoutah, IL, born October 15, 1931 in Overland, Missouri, passed away after a brief illness on Wednesday November 21, 2018, at Memorial Hospital, Belleville, IL.

Wendell proudly served his country in the United States Air Force as a Paratrooper. For many years, he co-owned and was an auctioneer for Stumpf Auction Company in Mascoutah, IL. To many’s surprise, he was a wonderful upholsterer and seamster, gifting many people with keepsakes and handmade items. Wendell collected aluminum cans & scrap metal; he was affectionately known as "The Can Man" around Mascoutah. He converted his hobby for recycling into a business, “Mascoutah Recycling.” Wendell adored socializing with friends & family, had an undying love for animals, and will be remembered affectionately by his friends at Woodland Towers, Collinsville, IL. He loved playing bingo and cards while eating his favorite snack, cashews.

Preceding Wendell in death are his parents, Ernest and Christine Short; and wife Darlene.

Leaving to cherish his memory are his Daughters, Wendi Short of Mascoutah, IL and Debra Short of Jonesville, SC, and Sister, Linda Short (Dave) Callahan of Azle, Texas, and Grand Daughter, Ashlyn Sellers of Belleville, IL; Grandson, Richard (Joy) Dominguez of Fort Worth, TX; Stephanie (George) Cook and daughter Kelli of Austin, TX; Cassandra (Sean) Leslie and son Zsander of Ft. Worth, TX; Nephew, Dean Bentley of McAllister, OK; Grand Niece, Mary Buck of Ventura, CA; Great Grand Nieces and Nephews, Willow, Jade and Reyna of Ventura, CA; and his first wife, Norma Jean Miller of Jonesville, SC; and a numerous amount of family and friends.

Memorial donations may be gifted to Monroe County Humane Society, 4221 Hanover Rd, Columbia, IL . The family hopes you will send condolences expressing how Wendell touched your life, which you can do online at

Visitation: Family and friends are encouraged to celebrate Wendell’s Memory 5:00pm-7:00pm on Wednesday, November 28, 2018 at Valhalla-Gaerdner-Holten Funeral Home in Belleville, IL.

Funeral: Services will be held at Valhalla-Gaerdner-Holten Funeral Home on Thursday, November 29, 2018 at 1:00pm. Entombment will conclude in Valhalla Gardens of Memory.


  • Visitation Wednesday, November 28, 2018
  • Funeral Service Thursday, November 29, 2018

Wendell Short

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Clisten "Clis" Murray

February 10, 2019

I first came to know Wendell as an auctioneer. Later we started his training to become a pilot and I was his flight instructor. On his first flight when we were learning how best to use the elevator trim, he said "Now I know what that first instructor was doing" (Wendell had a first flight at another airport). He was, as we say, hooked , so he continued on at Belleville area college until he got his private Pilot certificate. Wendell passed his check ride first time which not all pilots do.

Wendell gave me his "Seal Of Approval" by later bringing his daughter Wendi over to discuss her continued flight training, as he recognized she had been given some BAD instruction on her prior training flight. I think Wendell was relieved when she was willing to continue, and when she received her PP certificate on the first try. Wendell later called me to find out if I could go with them to Texas to look at a Cessna 172 that he might purchase. He made the buy and Wendi flew us all home in the Cessna.

Wendell was way ahead of his time. I say this because he showed me a machine or table he developed to lie on, strap your feet down and then one part could be cranked away to stretch the spine. Now the Chiro folks have a fancier version but for all practical purposes it is the same thing. WOW.

Wendell was always so generous -- for example he made a cover for my motorhome and wouldn't accept any pay. He will always be remembered as the "Can Man". We will all miss him.


Doris Sellers

February 8, 2019


May God's hope-filled promises bring comfort to your soul and peace to your heart.

So sorry for the loss of your dad. I know what a special place in your heart your dad had and know how hard it will be without him. God will see you thru this difficult time. God loves you!

Love, Doris :)

Jerry McCann

February 2, 2019

Wendell provided me with 40+ years of friendship, smiles (not always deserved) and the most positive of problem was a problem, life was about the next adventure. We shared a passion for collecting antique glass fruit jars, history and enjoying the company of friends. Wendell was a modest man of great accomplishments, who listened to his friends. I wish I had listened as well, asking more about his interesting life.

From our first time meeting to our last, his warm smile, firm handshake were constants. Although in later years health slowed his stride, it did not diminish his spirit. I last saw Wendell a year ago (2017) at the Belleville antique bottle show...actually he ran into me...with his motorized cart. Looking around I spotted him sitting there, the years melting away replaced with the satisfied smile of a young boy who just pulled a prank and got away with it. This I will miss. Wendell will always be part of my life, as I will always remember him, and surely thank him for showing me how to be a better person.

Jerry McCann

Donna & Larry Rigdon

January 14, 2019

Wendell was a jack of all trades. An auctioneer with a big booming voice and someone who could fix about anything. I got to know Wendell through my friendship with his daughter Wendi. Whenever I would call over to their home to speak with Wendi about carpool or plans for a girls night out and Wendell answered the phone it always kind of scared me because of his distinct voice. He was kind to everyone and always ready to help those in need. He pretty much lived life on his own terms and left this world on his own terms. I am sure that he is at peace and enjoying happiness in heaven with all of his relatives and friends who passed before him. He will be greatly missed.

Our deepest sympathy to Wendi and her family on their loss.

Donna & Larry

Wendi Short

January 4, 2019


You were my rock, the one I saw every week for my almost entire life. I now realize the huge void in my life.

When I have heard others describe you, they have said “jovial man, very generous, always finding a way to turn what someone thought was junk into a jewel…and then give it to someone else.” You were always digging for some “treasure”, then I would most-likely be bringing it out of your car into my house so you could explain to me why I needed this newfound treasure. This now brings tears to my eyes and a smile to my face. You always wanted to "do" for me.

You fixed things at my house when I had no man to do it for me. You gave me ideas to make things easier for me. You taught me how to change a tire, how to use tractors, operate two-stroke engines, how to tie a dang good knot and how to fly an airplane. How to stick up for myself, how to be kind to animals and why it made sense to take care of you for the last 18 years of your life. Now I know why we all should take the time to care for our elderly parents until the end of their life.

I remember you taking me trick-or-treating in the back of your truck. I sat on the tailgate (when it was okay to do so!!) with all my friends. So fun!! You took me on the rides at the homecoming (because mom got sick on them). I remember you riding bikes with me and running races with me to see who got to the front door first! I remember sitting on the front porch when there were thunderstorms and you teaching me to know how far the storm is by counting how long after the lightening bolt you hear the clap of thunder! I remember after a big rain, you would take me out in your truck and aim for all of the large, big puddles that would splash water up over your truck cab. It was so fun, but a bit scary for me when you drowned out your motor and the truck quit that one time, though. 😊

I remember….you actually letting me go outside after a very big ice storm and run down our empty side street and slide, slide, slide on a pair of slick shoes. As crazy and unsafe that sounds now, I loved doing that as a kid!

You were the one to start a very nice antique perfume bottle collection for me that I will always cherish. And to know and now talk to your antique bottle folks a bit brings back memories of how I always went with you and Mom to those shows.

You’ve attended every important function of my life and rooted for me when I graduated high school, college, air traffic school, pilot school, you were there for my important functions, even my baby shower.

You spent decades cooking meals for me and bringing them to me, hours cleaning and buffing a copper kettle in your apartment for me as a gift, sharpening kitchen knives, what-have-you. You always found a way to fix…everything. Maybe not the most proper way of doing it, but it always got fixed. Always.

In your last days, you were still a giver. I went to retrieve some pot holders and aprons that you had hand-sewn, with hopes of seeing you smile again. I asked if you wanted to give these to a few of your favorite nurses. It was pleasing to see you smile and nod your head “yes.” They were surprised that a large man with your large hands had the ability to make floral and Mickey Mouse pot holders and aprons. It filled my heart!

I have not quite come to terms with the fact that I will never have another conversation with you again...unless it’s in my heart. I will miss our weekly visits to see what you brought me. I will miss your voice and mostly, I will just miss you.

I will miss you loving on my Bernie and Titus, always there to feed them treats when you’d show. I can still see you sitting at the dining table, just petting either one of them, tearing off bits, treat by treat for them, talking to them and petting them.

Thank you, Dad, for being the best father I could have wanted. You were active, alert and wanted so desperately to live independently (which you did) until the end. Thank you for making sure that I have known I was loved every day of my life. You were always happy to see me or walk into my house – carrying something, even if it was dug out of a dumpster. That is what made you you, and a memory I will never forget.

The greatest gift you gave me was not gifts under the tree, but your very presence in my life. The greatest gifts are those moments of sharing life together, laughing together, walking through life together and knowing each other. Often, I wish for you to come back, but I don’t want you to suffer again. I know you are with me and I will always love and miss you.

There's a part of me that died when you did…until I see you again…


Debra Short

January 4, 2019

Debra Short

January 4, 2019

Debra Short

January 4, 2019

Debra Short

January 4, 2019

Debra Short

January 4, 2019


Put up your dukes!!!!


His faithful companion, Prince! Dad spoke of his favorite dog well into his 80's!



      “Anything is possible.” That is what Wendell Short believed about life. He was a creative man, a perpetual inventor, who seemed to be able to find a solution for any difficulty confronting him. He had faith in his ability to find those solutions. Wendell thoroughly enjoyed understanding how things worked. He possessed an inquisitive, confident, and rational nature matched with a versatile and agile mind. Wendell was a person who believed that he could achieve whatever he set out to do.

       His parents were Christine and Ernest Short. Wendell was raised in Mascoutah, IL. He showed his ingenuity even as a child. When he was confronted with a problem, Wendell could develop an imaginative solution, and he derived satisfaction from knowing he had that ability.

      This same talent for finding solutions had a positive bearing on Wendell's family relationships. Wendell was raised with One sibling. He had one younger sister, Linda. When a difficult situation or dilemma arose within the family, Wendell was always there to help figure out a solution for making things work.

      Endowed with an appetite for knowing how his world worked, Wendell enjoyed school, especially when the learning experience involved dissecting and probing the unknown. Wendell was adept at scrutinizing different possibilities and designing innovative solutions. He graduated from Mascoutah Community High School in 1951. He enjoyed some courses more than others, having favorite classes and teachers. His favorite class in high school was recess! Not so sure he enjoyed learning much in school. :).

      On October 28, 2019 Wendell exchanged wedding vows with Darlene Sueann Lange at Holy Childhood Church of Mascoutah, IL. Wendell was adept at devising original and creative ways to enhance and improve the marriage partnership. Wendell was seldom a critical person, but rather the one who was able to bring out the best in others. Wendell was an entertaining conversationalist who was quick to respond to his spouse’s needs. He was a vibrant personality and he enjoyed verbally sparring with Darlene. In fact, those who knew him often remarked that Wendell loved to argue for argument’s sake. He was very perceptive in recognizing others’ feelings, especially regarding Darlene's.

      Wendell's remarkable talent for being inventive influenced his relationship with his children. He would create original, clever and fun games for his kids and had a knack for finding ways to make everyday events, even chores, enjoyable to them. Someone who was quick to laugh, Wendell found it easy to spend lots of time with his children, but he was never overbearing or guilty of pushing himself on them.

      As a born inventor, Wendell was definitely in his element in his work place. He could easily create new and innovative systems, and incorporate those changes to bring a fresh approach to any work situation. Wendell was a focused worker with a strong drive for achievement. He could assess all of the options before him and, using his analytical skills, could comfortably find answers that no one else had even considered. His personal initiative inspired those around him. Wendell was always good at getting a project started and then, at the appropriate time, handing it on to a colleague. His primary occupation was upholsterer in the early days, followed by auctioneer and then aluminum recycler ("The Can Man"). He was self-employed as an upholsterer, then partner as an auctioneer with Stumpf Auction Company, then retired from that and went into the recycling business as Mascoutah Recycle, affectionately known as "The Can Man" in town. Wendell always made an effort to be a team player, doing what needed was necessary in order to get the job done.

      Wendell's “never say die” attitude and his ability to face any challenge no matter how difficult it might be were tremendous assets that Wendell carried with him into the military. Wendell was a paratrooper in the Air Force.

      Wendell's passion for finding a better way to do things was often an end in itself for him. In fact, that interest by itself became something of a hobby for this perpetual problem solver. Since Wendell was always searching for new and unusual activities, he developed many interests and leisure pursuits. One of his was learning to fly! He became a private pilot at the ripe age of 50!
Some other things he became an “expert” in might come as a surprise to those who knew him, but most friends and family understood that Wendell simply couldn’t be limited to just a few activities or ideas. His favorite pursuits were old bottle collecting, dead-house hunting (right!), metal detecting, turning others' trash into treasures and sewing.

      Wendell's calm demeanor and eternally positive outlook served him well in sports. Recreational sports included flying (he was a private pilot). Wendell was also something of a sports fan and enjoyed following his favorite events whenever he got the opportunity. Tops on his list were wrestling!

      With all of his talents, his ingenuity, his solutions and inventiveness, it is no surprise that Wendell received public recognition for his competence. With the drive and ability to meet any challenge, Wendell accumulated a long list of achievements throughout his life. Some of his most prestigious awards included the "Quality Recycling Award" 1995 and xxxxx.

      Having the opportunity to visit and explore a new place always intrigued Wendell. Traveling and going away on vacations offered yet another opportunity for Wendell to expand his ever-growing inventory of knowledge. Favorite vacations included camping at Carlyle Lake or boating in earlier years when he had a boat with wife Darlene.

      Wendell was a lover of animals and cherished his pets. One of Wendell's favorites was Sparky, an American Eskimo dog. They were best friends for 14 years (it was Wendi's, his daughter's first and she gave it to him). Hot Second pet on Wendell's list was Buddy, his OTHER American Eskimo dog. That dog went everywhere with him and lived 12 years.

      Even while in retirement, Wendell never stopped exercising his inventive talents, and this new phase of his life provided new opportunities for stimulating his interests. In 2000, his new life involved remaining in Mascoutah until Darlene passed away. He auctioned off the homestead and moved to a smaller place in Belleville, IL followed by his final home in Collinsville. In retirement, he found new pleasure in tinkering, finding treasures for free, fixing anything that needed to be fixed. He spent more time with his daughter, Wendi. Even in retirement, Wendell continued to stay in touch with his old friends and while making plenty of new acquaintances. He was active at his final home at Woodland Towers and always tried to help the others at the apartment complex.

      Wendell passed away on November 21, 2018 at Memorial Hospital in Belleville, Illinois. Wendell fought an acute battle of internal abdominal bleeding, COPD, kidney failure and a blood clot in his lung. He is survived by daughters, Wendi and Debby; sister Linda; granddaughter, Ashlyn; grandson Richard; Stephanie; Cassandra; nephew Dean and first wife Norma. Services were held at Valhalla-Gaerdner-Holten Funeral Home. Wendell was laid to rest in Valhalla Gardens of Memory in Belleville, Illinois.

      During his lifetime, nothing appeared impossible to Wendell. He met the words “it can’t be done” with the enthusiastic challenge of a “wanna bet” attitude. Wendell was able to recognize the possibilities a new idea held, even when those around him could not. For Wendell, the traditional way of doing things fell short of his expectations, especially if there were original and untested methods for handling a challenge. For Wendell Short, the fun of living his life could be found in the challenge.