Leonard L. Wetmore, BiographyPorter County biographical sketches . . . .

Transcribed biography of Leonard L. Wetmore


The Valparaiso experiences of the Leonard L. Wetmore family is divided into three paragraphs, each paragraph covers a decade.

In July of 1946 Leonard L. Wetmore, a recent graduate of Indiana College of Mortuary Science, came to Valparaiso employed as an embalmer for Howard LePell Funeral Home. He made his temporary home with Mr. and Mrs. Jake Edelman at 201 Monroe St. known then as Mead Apartments. His wife, Dorisann, and 8 year old son, David, joined him in January 1947 which was the first opportunity to find a 2 bedroom apartment in an acute city housing shortage following World War II. Starting as a twenty-eight year old Freshman at Valparaiso University, Dorisann earned in three and one-half years a SA degree and was teaching at Cook's Corners School. She had also served as a County Probation Officer on a part time basis with Mr. Kenneth Wolf, Chief Probation Officer. Dorisann and Mrs. Thomas C. Hall of Chesterton organized the Porter County Mental Health Association In 1954, Leonard and Dorisann purchased the beautiful old two-story home with leaded paned windows, open stair well and massive fireplace at 152 Jefferson. This home stood directly north of Hotel Lembke, and they moved it east on Lincolnway and south on Franklin to its present location at 102 Brown St. in 1955. Son David was a pupil at St. Paul Elementary School and during his formative years earned many blue ribbons at hobby shows for his extensive collection of horses, and received numerous honors in Scouting including "Order of the Arrow". In February 1952 Leonard started his political career as a nominee for Porter County Coroner, he was defeated in the Primary by Hallard A. Flynn, a Chesterton Funeral Director, but Leonard was appointed and served for 10 years as County Deputy Coroner.

The decade from 1956 to 1966 held many exciting moments for the Wetmores. David graduated from VHS, and continued his education in Florida at the University of Miami. Keith Chidester Wetmore was born into the family, and subsequently Miss Grace Stibbe assumed the governess duties with unlimited love and constant concern until her death when Keith was seven. Dorisann earned an MS degree from Indiana University and served as Director of Special Education in Merrillville Schools. In 1958 David married Patricia Lorence from Lowell, and established their home in the city. Here their daughter, Tracey, and son, Mark, were born. In February of 1961 Leonard and Dorisann purchased the Howard LePell business, and it was renamed the Wetmore Funeral Home, Inc. In May of 1964 they opened their new facility on Roosevelt Rd., occupying the east side of the 100 block- -- the first complete, all-new funeral establishment in Porter County. During this decade Leonard served one term (4 years) upon appointment of the Governor of Indiana to the State Board of Funeral Directors and Embalmers.

Many more interesting events occurred during 1966 and to the present. In November of that year Leonard was elected Republican Coroner of Porter County and served almost eight years in that office. His last year was interrupted by his election to the County Council in November of 1974. At this time he is a candidate for Mayor of Valparaiso having won the nomination over John Worstell in May. Son David graduated from Purdue University and is living as fourth generation on the family homestead at Kentland. Son Keith graduated from VHS in 1956 during which time he participated with VU Players, Community Theatre Guild, starring in "Forty Carats", spent two summers in Interlochen Music Camp, Michigan, a summer internship with Congressman Earl F. Landgrebe, played first chair position tuba with All State Band, was elected Master Councilor of Valparaiso DeMolay, earned placement in Accelerated Program at Northwestern University where is currently an honor student. Leonard received two special honors: an award for ten years as Chairman of Porter County Red Cross Chapter, and the Special Service Award from Indiana State Police. Dorisann was named by Mayor Elden Kuehl to the City Plan Commission and first woman member of the Board of the Greater Valparaiso Chamber of Commerce. Earlier in the decade John Wiggins, Mayor, had appointed her to the first and only City Comic Book Commission. She is currently leading a rape prevention group proud of its 400 members. She has traveled on all continents except Africa and Anarctica. The Spokesman, National Funeral Director and Vidette-Messenger have published her articles. Leonard or Dorisann are currently or have been active in the following organizations: Valparaiso Woman's Club, American Association of University Women, Porter Cancer Board, Church Women United, Methodist Church, Community Concert Association, Porter County Historical Society, Porter Memorial Hospital Guild, Valparaiso U. and Indiana U. Alumni Association, St. Paul Church, Unicef Drives, Farm Bureau, Republican Woman's Club, Lions Club, Rotary Club, Protective Association of Porter Co. and Greater Valparaiso Chamber of Commerce.

Source: American Revolution Bicentennial Committee of Porter County. 1976. A Biographical History of Porter County, Indiana. Valparaiso, Indiana: American Revolution Bicentennial Committee of Porter County, Inc. 180 p.
Page(s) in Source: 175

This biography has been transcribed exactly as it was originally published in the source. Please note that we do not provide photocopies or digital scans of biographies appearing on this website.

Biography transcribed by Steven R. Shook


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