May 27, 1964 - February 21, 2021
If Gomer could only have his three favorite things in the whole world and nothing else, his answer would topple out of his warmly grinning face the same way he sent a horseshoe sailing toward the sandpit when playing at The Legion. "All I need to be happy is a pole and bait, car racing, and spending every moment I can enjoying the forests of Pennsylvania's State Game Lands with Button, my very best friend and the girl who had no problem hooking this old fish and reeling him in forever." Born on May 27,1964 in Sayre, PA, Earl “Gomer” Wendela, raised and loved very much by Ward and Jane (Hamilton) McConnell. As a shy, funny, and mildly mischievous little boy, Gomer earned his nickname because he was born the year Gomer Pyle aired. Gomer graduated from Tioga Central High School, Class of 1983, where he participated in wrestling, football and baseball. An avid supporter of the Tigers, Gomer and his brother Carl regularly went to the school to watch wrestling matches. At the age of 13, Marybeth came to visit Christmas Day with his brother, Alfie, and sister-in-law, Pat. Gomer, naturally shy, went to his room, but Marybeth “Button” knew the moment she caught a glimpse of him that he was going to be the love of her life. Gomer didn't just love sports, though. He loved video games and started playing Atari games as a teenager at Alfie and Pat’s home where they spent the next few years flirting and becoming best of friends. It was soon after that Button found herself riding with Gomer every day to work at Cargill, and they officially began dating in 1989. As the trees bloomed deep crimson, beautiful gold, and pumpkin orange, Button's premonition came true, as she and Gomer married on October 23, 1993 at the North Orwell Union Church, celebrating 27 years of marriage this past fall and nearly a lifetime of being peas in a pod. Anyone who knew Gomer was usually amazed at how hard he worked, how hard he played, how self-sufficient he was, and how he made just about everyone he met laugh. With Gomer, life was meant to be enjoyed, loved and savored. A dedicated and hard worker, Gomer worked alongside his friend Leon “AJ” Fortner where they were plaster masters. Since 1994, Gomer had formed many friendships while working at Jeld-Wen. His friends will forever remember his kindness and big smile! He had a passion for not just cooking and being the Master of the BBQ, but he took a lot of pride in canning, especially the venison he never failed to bring home on cold November mornings. He and Button also loved to fish, especially at Vandervort or Cragle’s pond. Gomer loved any good old competition, whether it was cheering on the San Francisco 49ers when everyone else rooted for the Cowboys, playing cards Monday nights at the Legion, and attending all the local annual turkey parties, or telling Button as they sat those summer mornings and nights with poles and bobbers and sunfish giving a nibble on the bait that no matter how hard she tried, the fish he was about to hook was going to be, and always would be, bigger than hers...even when they weren't. It was the outdoors, any season, where Gomer was home. Open fields, in the woods, up in a tree stand, in a blind, wading through ponds and creeks...those things were the very essence of Gomer. He was truly the best version of himself when he was taking walks in the Gamelands with Button and his boxer, Razor, or camping at the races, or spending an afternoon practicing his archery and siting in his guns with his family and friends. In the early morning hours of February 21, Gomer truly became the biggest fish in the sea of stars above everyone when he started on his new quiet and peaceful journey through a forest never seen, but where he knew old friends were waiting on the other side. As Gomer goes off to reunite with loved ones and find new fishing holes and places to sit and enjoy the view, he leaves behind a wealth of family and friends, abundant in number and blessed enough to have him be in their lives. Along with his beloved Button and their dog Razor, Gomer's siblings and their families will treasure Gomer forever. They include his brothers and sisters-in-law, Alfred and Patricia Wendela of Rome, PA, and Carl and Julie Wendela of Tioga Center, NY, and his sisters and his brothers-in-law, Karen VanNorman of Waverly, NY and Tracy and Gary Ellison of Cleveland, TN; John Adams of Ocala, Fla. Gomer will forever be a brother to Button's siblings and their families as well, Sandra and Bob Drake and Charles “Chip” and Jamie Wagner, all of Rome, PA. Many special friends who loved, encouraged, and never left his side will miss him deeply. The inseparable bond between Gomer and his niece Stephanie will forever shine brightly as their kinship was built on unconditional love filling a void in their hearts with the loss of her father, Willie. Mornings were made all the brighter when Gomer would stop for coffee, conversation and a word of encouragement to see Karen. Finally, it's impossible to come from families as big, loving, and rooted for generations here in our beautiful pocket of the northeastern Endless Mountains as Gomer was blessed to have nieces, nephews, aunts, uncles, cousins, and friends who are like your family and too numerous to name. Your love for him, and him to you, will never cease, but only grow stronger. In addition to his parents who were happily waiting on the other side of the new forest path that Gomer is exploring, probably standing next to a freshly stocked pond complete with a pole, bait, and bucket are his brothers William G. Wendela and Nick H. Wendela, and Martin Joki, and sister, Elaine Adams. Also greeting him are his brother-in-law, Frank VanNorman and his mother-in-law Reva Wagner, his beloved dog Boozer, and his very special friend, mentor, and personal cheerleader Leon "AJ" Fortner. Gomer loved being outside on almost any given day, but he was at his happiest as nature came into bloom, skies were vivid blue, grass and hay were green and fragrant, and animals, birds, and insects of all forms colored his beloved corner of Pennsylvania. With that in mind, we will gather on Saturday, March 13th at the North Orwell Hall, 34142 Route 187, Rome, Pa 18837 with services to start at 1 pm with a luncheon following to celebrate and share stories of Gomer’s life. Button would very much love it if friends from far and wide not only sign the online guest book, but share your favorite memories of Gomer with joy and not sorrow, for Gomer was the eternal optimist and he would want funny stories so all can fondly remember him and all he touched. Memories and your favorite photos may be shared at www.sutfinfuneralchapel.com As Gomer left his fingerprint on all of us, he would want you to help someone in need, he would want to see that a child with special needs could attend camp at the Lions Camp Badger, 725 LaRud Road, Spencer, NY 14883 or his alma mater, to assist all student athletes ~ c/o Tioga Central School, in memory of Earl “Gomer” Wendela, attn: K. Seaver, PO Box 241, Tioga Center, NY 13845. Caring assistance is being provide by the Sutfin Funeral Chapel, 273 S. Main St., Nichols.
If Gomer could only have his three favorite things in the whole world and nothing else, his answer would topple out of his warmly grinning face the same way he sent a horseshoe sailing toward the sandpit when playing at The Legion. "All I need... View Obituary & Service Information
Obituary & Service
If Gomer could only have his three favorite things in the whole...View More
Flowers & Gifts
Send flowers to the Wendela family.Send Flowers