Wolfgang Horst Penzel made his home-going on Oct. 7, 2022, after struggling with kidney and heart failure. He was 82 years old. Wolf served as mayor of Eden Prairie from 1976 to 1984.
Wolf was born to Erika and Horst Penzel in Berlin, Germany, at the height of World War II. The family emigrated in 1959 to Minnesota, where Wolf attended the University of Minnesota. He met his beloved wife of 53 years, Alleene Elizabeth (né Sexton), who sat behind him in English class. Wolf went on to become a chemist for nearly 35 years. His utmost ambition in life was to follow his Lord the best he could. His desire was that others would know that the saving love of Jesus can be theirs as well.
Wolf gave his life to Jesus Christ at the age of 34, which Wolf credits as radically changing him as a person, husband, father, and member of the world. Wolf spent his adult life pursuing his passion of service to the community and to God. Wolf wore many hats over the years and was respected in each of them: Eden Prairie mayor, Mensa and Jaycees board member and chair, church trustee and elder, HOA president, teacher, and friend. He was also dedicated to maintaining connections and relationships with family, friends, and community members throughout his lifetime, both in the U.S. and abroad.
Wolf was a life-long dog lover, especially his collies Ty, Eeyore, and Charlotte. He was a fountain of knowledge and a man of deep convictions. He could always be depended on in a crisis, from emergency car repair to neighborhood house fire to times of deep loss. He loved science fiction like “Star Trek,” particularly that which spoke to the dilemmas of human morality. Wolf always maintained a connection to Germany, its language and culture, one of his favorite programs being “Tagesschau.” He was intentional and generous with his time and finances and wanted peace for all of his loved ones.
He is survived by brother, Werner, and sister-in-law Karen Penzel of Bedford, Texas; his son Rolf and daughter-in-law Rhonda Penzel of Carver; granddaughters Lindsay He and Taylor Penzel; his daughter Christine Penzel of Dunnellon, Florida; and grandchildren Erika and Caleb Bevilacqua, and child Heather Penzel of Raumati Beach, Aotearoa/New Zealand.
Memorials were held at Rainbow Springs Village Church in Dunnellon, Florida, on Sunday, Oct. 16, and a memorial service will be held in Eden Prairie at a date and time to be determined. The Eden Prairie memorial will be immediately followed by interment with Alleene, his parents and his parents-in-law at Eden Prairie Cemetery. In lieu of flowers, donations may be directed to Minnesota Church Ministries Association. To watch Sunday’s memorial virtually, visit RSV Church on Facebook. The recording is saved for rewatching under the Videos tab.
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