Lyle Eugene Whelchel

May 5, 2022
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Lyle Eugene Whelchel died peacefully on May 5, 2022 at the age of 92.

Lyle loved many things in life: he loved being outdoors in nature, especially in the Montana Rockies; he loved sports of all kinds, both participating in them and as a spectator; and he loved his job at Sandia National Lab, where he worked for 37 years. But mostly, Lyle loved his family. He was preceded in death by his sister Laila Ronnberg of Sweden and his brother Ralph Aubrey Whelchel of Butte, Montana. He is survived by his wife of 67 years Marilynn Jensen Whelchel and by his four children: Greg and his wife Denise, Janine and her husband Paul, Joyce and her husband Tom, and David and his wife Cheryl. His grandchildren include Ashley and her husband Eric, Brittany and her fiancé Michael, Tyler, Shauna and her husband Johannes, Kelsey and her fiancé Andy, Jordan, Jillian, and Dakota. Lyle also has five great-grandchildren: Klaudia, Payson, Bryce, Cade, and Vladimir.

Lyle was an old-fashioned American success story. Born May 14,1929 in Havre, Montana, a small town close to the Canadian border, he grew up in Chester, Montana, mostly without his mother, Henrietta Midthaug Whelchel, who died when he was six years old. His father, Ora Otto Whelchel, did a variety of jobs through the Great Depression and World War Two, but mostly made his living driving a truck. He died when Lyle was 27. Lyle graduated from high school and attended college in Havre.

Lyle enlisted in the US Navy in January 1951 and served during the Korean War. He worked as an Air Intelligence Officer while stationed in Hawaii, Japan, and on the aircraft carrier USS Valley Forge. After being mustered out with an Honorable Discharge in November 1954, Lyle attended the University of Montana on the GI Bill and earned his bachelor's degree in business administration. A recruiter from Sandia National Lab recognized Lyle's intelligence, organizational skills, and potential and offered him a job beginning in 1957.

Meanwhile, after the war, Lyle had gone home to Chester, Montana, the town where he grew up, and saw a lovely young woman, Marilynn Jensen, whom he remembered only as a girl. "I'm going to marry her," he said to himself, a vow he succeeded in fulfilling. Lyle and Marilynn got married in April 1955, and she joined him in Missoula while he finished his studies there.
Lyle, Marilynn, and their infant son Greg moved into a rental house in Albuquerque while they had their own house built on June Street NE, which they occupied, now with daughter Janine too, in 1958-the house in which Lyle and his family have lived ever since. While Lyle began his career at the lab, Marilynn had two more children, Joyce and David.

Lyle eventually worked his way up to become the Director of Procurement, assisting in the effort to develop the technology to fight the cold war against the Soviet Union and the communist bloc. But he always found time to spend with his family, tirelessly attending, coaching, and officiating at sporting events, taking long road trips every year up to see family in Montana, and joining in holiday and birthday celebrations-all in addition to his active membership in Faith Lutheran Church.

After retiring from the lab in 1994, Lyle traveled with Marilynn on several long tours to Europe and throughout the Unites States, continued in his loving participation in the lives of his children and grandchildren, and continued to be active at Faith Lutheran.

A Memorial Service will be held for Lyle Saturday, June 4, 2022, 10:00 Faith Lutheran Church, 10000 Spain Road NE

Memorial contributions may be made in his name to Faith Lutheran Church, the American Heart Association, or AYBL Youth Basketball.
The family wishes to extend their heart-felt gratitude to both Home Care Assistance and Hospice of New Mexico.


To send flowers to the family, please visit our floral store.


Memorial Celebration
June 4, 2022

10:00 AM
Faith Lutheran Church
10,000 Spain Road NE
Albuquerque, NM 87111

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