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Dr. Milan W. Wehking, 71,

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Dr. Milan William Wehking, 71, of River Falls, died Saturday, March 7, 2009, at the River Falls Area Hospital.

Milan Wehking was born to Helen and Albert Wehking on a family farm 10 miles northwest of Buffalo Lake, Minn., on July 31, 1937. As the youngest of four children, Milan first attended grade school in Hector, Minn., before his family sold the farm and moved to Buffalo Lake for his fourth grade year.

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Milan was an avid athlete and quality student during his school years. He was the valedictorian of his senior class and the sixth-leading scorer in Minnesota in 1955, with more than 1,000 points in basketball; he was the starting quarterback of the football team; and a key infielder on the baseball team for Buffalo Lake High School, graduating in 1955. He enrolled in Mankato State University in fall 1955.

He met his future wife, Lily May Salter, at Mankato State. They were married in June of 1958.  After Milan and Lily graduated from Mankato State, he went on to school at Iowa University, earning a Master of Arts and doctorate in chemistry.

Milan and Lily had their first of three children, Michael in October 1962. They later moved to St. Louis as Milan began a job with Monsanto Chemical as a research chemist. It was in St. Louis that their second child, Paul, was born in 1964. Seeking to get closer to family in west central Minnesota and settle in a less urban environment, Milan was hired as a faculty member at UW-River Falls in 1965. He and Lily had their third child, Maria, in 1968. 

From 1965-1978 Milan served as an organic and inorganic chemistry professor at UW-RF, including a stint as department chairperson. He was forced to retire due to multiple sclerosis in 1978.

From 1978-1994, Milan was a stay-at-home parent and an expert witness and supreme Viking, Twins and Gopher fan. He recalled his fondest memories in early November 2008: "I loved college because that's where I met Lily," he said. He said coaching pony league baseball, golfing, playing pool and fishing with friend Jack Bostrack were also highlights of his life.

Milan entered the Kinnic Long Term Care center in November 1994 after Lily suffered a career-ending heart attack and she was no longer able to take care of him at home. Lily died of heart disease in March 2001. Milan went on to become the "senior statesman" of the Kinnic Home.

He was a lifetime member of Ezekiel Lutheran Church. He was also a long-time member of the Masonic Lodge in River Falls, serving as a past worshipful master.

He was preceded in death by his wife, Lily Wehking; parents: Albert and Helen Wehking; and sisters: Rose Larson and Muriel Olson.

Milan is survived by his children: Mike (Kathy) Wehking of Arden Hills, Minn., Paul (Kristin) Wehking of Marshall, and Maria (Charlie) Jackson of White Bear Lake, Minn.; grandchildren: Jordan Mirza, Kyle Wehking, Adam Wehking, Josh Wehking, Rachel Zimmerman and Eric Zimmerman; sister, Ruth Christensen; and nephew, Edwin (Pam) Larson. 

A memorial service will be held Friday, March 20, 2009, at 4 p.m. at Bakken-Young Funeral Home in River Falls.

A Masonic Service will begin at 2 p.m. Friday, March 20, and visitation will continue until the memorial service.

Private interment will be held at a later date.

In lieu of flowers, memorials are preferred.

Arrangements are with Bakken-Young Funeral & Cremation Services of River Falls.

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