Loren Cowan Wardwell, Jr., 81, passed away in Yukon, Oklahoma June 4, 2023.
He was born in Buffalo, New York, far from La Crosse in western Wisconsin, the Mississippi River Valley, known as “Gods’ Country where he grew up and his extended family lived.
He is a graduate of Logan High School and received both undergraduate and graduate degrees from University of Wisconsin-LaCrosse.
He was the eldest son of Loren Senior and Earleen (Miller) Wardwell, who predeceased him. He is survived by his wife of 55 years, Johnina of Yukon, Oklahoma; son, Ahren (Laura) Wardwell of Oklahoma City, Oklahoma; daughter, Alyssa (Kyle) Gillespie of Madison, Alabama; sisters, Gail Wardwell Garza and Linda (Kerry) Thompson of Albuquerque, New Mexico; and brother, Stephen (Eleanor) Wardwell of Ossining, New York. He has three grandsons and one granddaughter.
During the Vietnam War, he served in the US Army as an Armor Officer with the Americal Division and was awarded a Purple Heart, Vietnamese Cross of Gallantry and two Bronze Stars. He was a company commander and instructor at Ft. Knox, Kentucky; served at Ft. Hood, Texas; and as an ROTC instructor at his alma mater UW-LaCrosse. He completed his military career as a Major.
His master’s degree in student personnel services combined with his military experience, led to a civilian career as Human Resources Manager at Heileman Brewing, Valvoline Oil and Waterloo Industries. He was actively involved in economic development in those communities in which he lived. He moved to Yukon, Oklahoma, from Muskogee, Oklahoma, in 2018.
In the 1970s and 1980s, Loren committed to becoming a marathon runner and completed such prestigious marathons as Boston, Chicago, Honolulu, Twin Cities, New York and also many challenging marathons throughout the Midwest. He is known for a 641-mile run from LaCrosse, Wisconsin, to Fort Riley. Kansas, in 14 days enroute to a ROTC summer training camp.
He was an accomplished photographer throughout his life. Upon his retirement he opened a photography studio until illness limited his mobility.
A graveside service and burial at Fort Gibson National Cemetery is set for Friday, June 9, at 1:30 p.m. In lieu of flowers, the family requests donations be made in his honor to any Veterans’ or Parkinson Disease organization.
Online condolences may be signed at www.yandafuneral.com. Arrangements are under the direction of Yanda & Son Funeral Home and Cremation Services, Yukon, Oklahoma.