Wendell Ahlbrand was always quick with a smile and never knew a stranger, said his wife, Diana Ahlbrand.
“It seemed he knew everyone,” she said.
Wendell Ahlbrand, 77, of Valparaiso, died April 10. He had been a teacher and served as principal at Gary Lutheran School. He also taught at several other schools in Ohio, Valparaiso and Portage for more than 30 years.
Ahlbrand had an excellent sense of humor and loved puns. He was so well-known for his puns that his grandchildren and great-grandchildren read some at his funeral.
“He would have loved it,” his wife said.
He was passionate about education and loved it when he could see “the light bulb go on” with a struggling student. He always taught with a creative flair and was known for his annual February portrayal of Abraham Lincoln.
“He instilled the love of learning with humor, and many of his former students expressed to the family that he was their favorite teacher,” she said.
He was involved in many community organizations, including The Odd Fellows Club and Meals on Wheels.
“He enjoyed greeting people and bringing a little happiness to their day,” his wife said. He also enjoyed game nights with neighbors and spending time with friends. He was a member of Christ Lutheran Church, Valparaiso, where he enjoyed playing the organ and singing in the choir.
He was a devoted family man, always the go-to person for advice. He lived his life with kindness, humor and love.
“He taught his children to think for themselves and not do something because everyone else was doing it,” she said. “He absolutely beamed with pride when surrounded by his children and their families.”