Born: September 6 and August 20, 1936
Both Died: August 4, 2022
Theirs was a love that began in the spring of 1956 on a blind date, a chance meeting between a happy and vivacious college student at Shippensburg College studying to be a teacher (her friends called her Kitten), and peacetime navy sailor home on leave (his friends called him Leck, and his family called him Jr). But he was NOT looking for a relationship, he was just “helping a friend”. Their romance was nurtured by heart felt letters between a love struck coed and her sailor at sea. Together they formed a bond and built a family unit that lasted for 65 years. They were joined together in marriage on Christmas Eve 1957 and ironically left this world together, August 4, 2022, just 8 hours apart. They were both 85 years old. Marilyn Aileen Shank (Wadel) was born the only daughter of William and Goldie Shank of York Springs, PA. She was of humble beginnings growing up in a relatively poor family in a rural area of central Pennsylvania. She grew up with an older brother named Cloyd who became a local business owner. Marilyn was the only person in her family to graduate from college. She was an active student with a flair for drama and was inducted into Alpha Psi Omega, the Honorary Theater Fraternity. Several years later she went on to complete her master’s degree and became a reading specialist. She began her teaching career in the Bermudian Springs School district, later moving to the Mechanicsburg District where she finished her career as a reading specialist after 35 years. Her students remember her as a very loving and caring and often life changing influence in their lives. She continued to be active in her community and local dramatic productions. Lester Miley Wadel Jr. was the youngest of 6 children and the only boy. He grew up with very little fatherly guidance as his father Lester Miley Wadel Sr. was often working out of town and sometimes out of the country. His mother Jean Sowers Wadel worked hard to provide for her children and saw to it that Jr. didn’t stray far and that he grew up to be caring young man. He graduated from Shippensburg High School in 1954 and soon joined the military. He was a radio operator aboard the USS Caperton, a Navy destroyer and lived his dream to see the world. This was the beginning of his yearning to travel. After leaving the Navy, Les began looking for his career and seriously considered becoming a funeral director, but soon realized his heart was too soft to handle the loss of a child and ended up taking a job as an insurance adjuster and eventually an auditor for USF&G insurance company, rising to a national supervisory position at their home office in Baltimore. He was active in his community serving on town councils, the volunteer fire department and several fraternal organizations including the Elks, the Moose, the VFW and the Masons. Off and on through his early adult life he moonlit periodically as a bus driver and traveled, sometimes with Marilyn, all across the country. They put down roots and raised their family in York Springs Pennsylvania. It was a generally happy and simple life in a town some often compared to Mayberry. They had 2 children, a son Michael and a daughter Kathleen. Together they spent many summers swimming, picnicking and waterskiing at Lake Meade, PA. After the kids left home, Marilyn and Les moved to Lake Heritage in Gettysburg. As they both reached retirement, they continued their desire to see the world and began to travel; Great Britain, Europe, Hawaii, Australia, New Zealand and throughout the United States, including an RV trip tracing the Alaskan Highway that Les’ dad helped to build. In their travels, they discovered an active retirement community in Florida called The Villages and it was here they decided to replant themselves one more time for 12 fun and adventure filled active years of golf, travel and socializing with friends. They always said that they were going to “go out” together, because neither could fathom a life without the other. God answered that prayer on August 4, 2022, when they both died, surrounded by family, just 8 hours apart from two totally nonrelated sudden onset health issues. Theirs was not a perfect relationship, but it was sealed in a covenant of love and forgiveness that carried them through nearly 65 years of marriage. They are preceded in death by their parents, Marilyn’s Brother Cloyd Shank (Thelma), Lester’s Sisters, Mary Jean Craig (Tom) Winona Carver (Mervin) and brothers in law Don Clever and Dick and Clyde Holtry. Both Lester and Marilyn had siblings that died in infancy. Surviving Les and Marilyn are their children, Michael Wadel (Jinger), Kathy Bennett (Michael), and 6 Grandchildren and 4 great grandchildren. Lester is also survived by his sisters, Doreen Holtry, Louise Holtry, and Patsy Clever. A memorial Service will be held Friday, September 16, 2022, at the Gettysburg United Methodist Church at 30 W High Street. Visitation will be at the church from 2p – 3:30, Service beginning at 3:30. Interment will follow at Evergreen Cemetery in Gettysburg.
30 W High St, Gettysburg, PA 17325
799 Baltimore St, Gettysburg, PA 17325
2:00 PM - 3:30 PM
30 W High St, Gettysburg, PA 17325