James H. Wenzel, 75 died Tuesday 10/12/2021 at the JGS Lifecare in Longmeadow, MA from Acquired Brain Injury. He was born in Helena, Arkansas on April 24, 1946, the son of Henry and Dorothy (Armstrong) Wenzel. Jim attended local schools in Helena and was a graduate of Helena High School in 1964. Jim attended Pratt Institute in Brooklyn, NY earning a BFA in Interior Design in 1968.
After graduation he remained in NYC working for the internationally known industrial design firm, Robert P. Gersin Associates, Inc. for 6 years until moving to Cambridge, MA where he briefly worked for Cambridge 7 Architects. Realizing he needed to be his own boss, Jim and his wife Joan moved to Arlington, MA in 1977 where together they founded J. Wenzel Inc. creating corporate identities, promotional exhibits and point of purchase retail displays for clients including Polaroid Corporation, Wang, Data General, BOSE, Eddie Bauer, Dexter Shoe and Stride Rite. The project they designed during this time that endures to this day is the pneumatic fail-proof system that selects the winning lottery balls for the Numbers Game for the Massachusetts State Lottery Commission.
Simultaneously in 1981 Jim and Joan established two seasonal stores in Boothbay Harbor, ME namely Best of Country and Union St. Gallery which they ran for 19 years. In 1993 those businesses were sold and Jim went into partnership with his nephew John Campbell to establish Franklin County Fabricators in Greenfield, MA. One of the most notable projects in Franklin County was the pedestrian bridge connecting the Green River Swimming and Recreation Area with the center of Greenfield via the Riverside Community Path. Extending statewide, FCF provided handrails for the New Broadway Bridge connecting South Boston and Downtown Boston as well as various components for Boston’s megaproject the Big Dig.
Jim collected paintings by New England impressionistic artists including William Lester Stevens, Robert Strong Woodward and Thomas R. Curtin. He organized a group of 15 artists from all over New England to create new works honoring local artist William Lester Stevens to be exhibited during the 250th Anniversary “Sestercentennial” in the town of Conway at the Field Memorial Library in June 2017. He loved driving the Western Massachusetts countryside unearthing the locations where his favorite artists created their works and researching their life stories. While his professional work provided him with many travel opportunities he recently stated “…what a beautiful place to be in this world!” referencing his Shelburne home that he has shared with his wife Joan for the last 28 years.
Jim is survived by his wife Joan Wenzel formerly Joan Wallner of Greenfield, MA, his daughter Stephanie Wenzel and her husband Lee Misenheimer and their son Otto Misenheimer of Brooklyn, NY; two brothers, Billy Wenzel of Tunica, MS and Jerry Wenzel and wife Betty Zane of Helena, AR; sister-in-law Marie Campbell of Greenfield, MA, sister-in-law Carol Wandeloski of Boothbay Harbor, ME and sister-in-law Virginia Wesoloski and husband Richard Wesoloski of South Deerfield, MA; nine nieces and five nephews.
Funeral services will be private. Arrangements are under the direction of the Kostanski Funeral Home. In lieu of flowers please make a donation to the Brain Injury Association of Massachusetts at www.biama.org. For condolences, please visit www.kostanskifuneralhome.com
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