Former city councilman René Wendell passes away

René Ephram Wendell, 81, passed away peacefully Dec. 24, at his home. 

He served on the Scottsdale City Council from 1984 to 1988 and was selected as vice mayor in 1986. Prior to that, he was active in city affairs. He cared deeply about preserving the unique culture, community and architecture of the West’s Most Western Town.

“René will be remembered by all for his kind spirit, commitment to others and wry sense of humor,” said Mayor David D. Ortega. “While I didn’t serve directly with Rene, I was inspired by his dedication to our community.”

René was an expert and avid horseman and a decorated cowboy. He was a lifetime member of the Scottsdale Charros. The city named the Wendell Arena at WestWorld in his honor. 

His love of art and horses resulted in a collection of bronze sculptures that were highly celebrated within Scottsdale’s fine arts community.

René worked tirelessly to see the innovative Indian Bend Wash Greenbelt project come to fruition, as well as the expansion of Scottsdale Airpark. 

René was born Jan. 8, 1941, in Evanston, Ill. His family moved to Scottsdale, and he graduated from Scottsdale High School in 1951. He served in the U.S. Army National Guard until being honorably discharged in 1965.

In his private life, René owned and operated Scottsdale-based Wendell Design Group, a flower shop, for more than 60 years.

Visitation will be held from 5-8 p.m. Friday, Jan. 6, at Messenger’s Mortuary, 7601 E. Indian School Road. Funeral Services will be at 10 a.m. Saturday, Jan. 7, at Valley Presbyterian Church, 6947 E. McDonald Drive, Paradise Valley. 


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