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July 27, 1948 ~ February 11, 2019 (age 70)

In Loving Memory
William “Billy” Francis Wentzell

William “Billy” Francis Wentzell passed away peacefully after a long battle with cancer at the age of 70 at his home in Metairie, LA on Monday, February 11, 2019. He was surrounded by those who cherished and loved him.

Billy is survived by his beloved wife, Julie Maffe Wentzell - together for 42 years and married 16 years. Billy was born on July 27, 1948 in New Orleans, LA. He was the son of the late Helen DeGrasse Wentzell Hiatt and the late Jack Wentzell from Biloxi, Mississippi; Father of Renee’ LeBoeuf Ables (Andy), Shannan Wentzell Harris (Tom), and Alisha Wentzell Terrebonne (Brian); Brother of Jacqueline Day Shaw (Ronnie), Betty Gallodora (Jimmy), Ronnie Wentzell, Janie Wentzell Peters (Ron), and Barbara McCoy Theriot (Gene); Grandfather of Kallie Ables Slagle (Matthew), Sarah Ables, Casey Harris, Garrett Terrebonne, and Graham Terrebonne; Great Grandfather of Lilah Evelyn Slagle. Also leaves close relatives and dear friends.

Billy served in the US Army as a Specialist (E-4) Field Wireman. He served in Vietnam from 1969-1970 and was awarded several medals, badges, and ribbons – one being the Army Commendation Award. He proudly served his country and was given an Honorable Discharge at the end of his service.

After Vietnam, Billy began working at Texas Gas Co. as a Crane Operator. After sustaining a serious back injury which ended his career, his love of art inspired him to consider picking up a brush and start painting. Furthermore, he credits his new beginnings to Dr. George Cary at Touro Infirmary, who treated his injury and encouraged him that painting could be an exciting new venture. He was in love with and inspired by the vibrant colors and spectrums of nature and of life itself…and wanted to express that love onto canvas. He was a passionate, eclectic artist who was well-known in the community and around the US for his extraordinary pieces. He taught art classes for the Jefferson Parish School System and show-cased his Kabuki paintings at the New Orleans Museum of Art during the Japanese Cultural Fair. His paintings were also displayed at the Art Expo in 1999 in New York City. Additionally, his paintings hang within private collections throughout the US and in public buildings in New Orleans, such as Touro Infirmary and the World Trade Center…and at the Shriner’s Burn Institute in Galveston, TX. He had an expansive, dynamic portfolio which encompassed several different styles of paintings from landscape, portrait, and still-life…to realism and scenes from everyday life.

Billy had a colorful and effervescent personality that was larger than life and he knew no strangers. He was a lover of learning and meaningful conversation and always had an interesting story to tell. His hobbies and activities included bottle collecting, train sets, and fitness, in which he won numerous awards in body-building competitions. He was an avid lover of nature and enjoyed being near water. One of his happy places was Dauphin Island, Alabama, in which he regularly visited and created special, life-long memories with his family and friends.

Relatives and friends of the family are invited to attend the wake and mass at THARP-SONTHEIMER FUNERAL HOME at 1600 N. Causeway Blvd. in Metairie on Monday, February 18 at 11 a.m. with Mass beginning at 1:00 pm. Interment will be private. Condolences may be expressed online at For more information, please call 504-835-2341.

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