Wilfred "Wif" Joseph Doerfler

Birth Date: 
Wednesday, June 2, 1926
Date of Passing: 
Friday, December 11, 2020

WOOSTER, OH - It is with heavy hearts that we announce the December 11th, 2020 passing of one of our nations’ “Greatest Generation”, Wilfred Joseph Doerfler - better and more simply known to his friends as “Wif” and his children as “Dad”.

Born June 2, 1926 in Hays, Kansas, to Joseph and Agnes Staab Doerfler, Wif is survived by his immediate sons and daughters, Jamie (wife Sue) Doerfler of Ashland, OH Chris (wife Betsy) Doerfler of Wilmington, NC, Steve (wife Cheri) Doerfler of Wooster, OH, Mary (husband John) Wheeler of Aurora, OH, Mickey (wife Dori) Doerfler of Flat Rock, NC, and Julie (husband Doug) Fiore of Ankeny, IA; siblings Kathryn Rohr,, Annette Seib and Harold Doerfler. He is preceded in death by his lifelong wife, best friend and only love, Nellie Dawn; his son, John Eric and his siblings Lucille Befort, Edna Brown, Rachel Doerfler, Mildred Fitzgerald, Alfred Doerfler, Marvin Doerfler and Isabel Gabel. 

Words are not sufficient to adequately honor Wif and so it is the same with the many reasons to respect him. As a decorated World War II veteran, a singer in the St. Mary’s Church choir, and a member of Elks Lodge No. 1346, Wif exemplified many of the values and traditions our nation holds dear. His involvement in the church and local community and giving of his time to those in need were offered without reservation, fanfare or the desire for personal gain.

Wif leaves behind many grandchildren and great-grandchildren whom he entertained and inspired with his colorful life experiences and tales of travel and adventure and always, with his unique perspective.

Like many of his generation, Wif was born of a meager and humble immigrant heritage. Both he and Nellie placed the utmost value on God, human life, family, friends, and home. They both enjoyed preparing and sharing abundantly their food, drink, laughter and time together. All were welcome in the Doerfler home. Many times that home served as place of safe harbor - a place to heal and to find security. That is what he enjoyed providing for others; that is what he was all about.

Holidays at the Doerfler home will be especially missed with his passing, but the spirit and tradition of his generosity are now carried forth and honored by the family he loved most dearly and always took special pride in.

Private services will be live-streamed on the McIntire, Bradham & Sleek Funeral Home Facebook page on Thursday, December 17, 2020 at 2:00PM with Rev. Rich Samide officiating. 

A future date for a memorial service to be held in Wif’s honor will be announced.

McIntire, Bradham & Sleek Funeral Home, 216 E. Larwill St., Wooster is assisting the family.

In lieu of flowers, the family requests that contributions be made to St. Mary Catholic Church, P. O. Box 109, Wooster, OH 44691 or to Ohio’s Hospice Life Care, 1900 Akron Rd., Wooster, OH 44691.

Online condolences may be left for the family at www.mcintirebradhamsleek.com


Memorial Contributions: 

In lieu of flowers, the family requests that contributions be made to St. Mary Catholic Church, P. O. Box 109, Wooster, OH 44691 or to Ohio’s Hospice LifeCare, 1900 Akron Rd., Wooster, OH 44691.


Private services will be livestreamed on the McIntire, Bradham & Sleek Funeral Home Facebook page on Thursday, December 17, 2020 at 2:00PM with Rev. Rich Samide officiating.  A date for a memorial service to be held in Wif’s honor will be announced.


God's blessings to "Wif's" survivors. A kind, humble and courageous hero. We owe a debt of appreciation to him that can never be repaid.

I met Wilfred Doerfler just once, but the time with him has been memorable for me. Working in television news, I went to the home of one of his adult children to interview Mr. Doerfler who was to be surprised by having a Congressman present him with medals he had earned in World War II, but medals he had never received. It was quite a story as Mr. Doerfler was indeed surprised by the event and by my presence to record the scene and produce a story for Cleveland television. Wilfred Doerfler and I immediately made a connection. So much so, he told me things about his time in the military he had not shared with anyone else over the years. The story aired on television. I found him to be a spiritual man who thought deeply about family, his own life, and his time in the U.S. Army. Her served in the Pacific campaign of World War II. I cherish the memory of the man I met only once, but who had a profound impact on lives of his family. As well, he had a positive and profound impact on my life. So much so, I often shared his story of his accomplishments and his missions in World War II when I spoke at various military veterans events. May the soul of Wilfred Doerfler rest in peace.

There are so many memories; hitting golf balls in the yard, moving trees and shrubs from place to place, the neighbor conversations over the fence, Chuck and Wif playing golf or bowling together while Nellie and I would take Julie and our kids to Burger King. There never was a conversation between us without Wif telling us how proud he was of his children, their spouses and their grandchildren. There never is a time when we look into our yards that we don't think of Wif and Nellie. May God bless each and every one of you. Wif and Nellie will always have a special place in our hearts. Our deepest sympathy to all of you.

My sincere sympathy as you remember and rejoice in the love and legacy of your loved one.

My sincere condolences as you rejoice in the beautiful memories and legacy of your loved one.

Mike and family, sorry to hear of your loss.

Steve and family , so sorry to hear , prayers for all of you.

Wif was such a great man he melted everyone’s heart the other day in the dining room singing Christmas music to one of his favorite ladies! She was so excited she smiled and started singing along! We will miss him deeply! Prayers to the family From Wif’s Choctaw Princess (his nickname for me)

So sorry for your loss.

Sending our heartfelt condolences to the Doerfler family. What a loving legacy Wif and Nellie created. We join with so many others in feeling blessed to know them.

I didn't know WIf, but I do know his daughter, Mary. Anyone who can raise a woman of the caliber of Mary must have been a great man. I am very sorry for your loss. I know how difficult it can be to lose a parent- especially during the Holiday season. I am sure he is in a better place and likely enjoying the holiday season with some old friends. Very sorry for your loss Mary.

We had the privilege of meeting Wif and Nellie thru my cousin Ann and Walter Archer, when they moved to Porter Dr. We would see Wif and Nellie when we would visit the Archer’s.
We always had lots of laughs with the Doerflers. Wif became a very loyal customer at Village Motors, I always looked forward to taking care of their car needs, and lots of fun when selling Wif cars, that is until Steve got in the car business.. The sales ended, but the friendship stayed the same.It was always a pleasure to see and visit with Wif. Such great memories. He was a
man who enjoyed life, friends and family. A true hero, not only as a soldier, but to all who knew him.

Uncle Wif was always my favorite. Blessings to all of you and I’m sorry we are so far apart. May he rest in eternal peace, and we send our love.

Wiff was a beautiful soul. I will miss our many conversations. He warmed your heart with his many stories. A very loving man indeed. Your going to be greatly missed..Danbury will never be the same without you!!

My Uncle Wif was kind and funny, and simply a joy to be around. He and my Mom came from a big family, and brought those old-fashioned, Catholic values into thier own families. My cousins were scattered far and wide, and were too distant for regular gatherings, but those we did have remain among my fondest and most vivid memories. And Uncle Wif is in the middle off all those scenes, bringing a great laugh and a twinkle of the eye for everyone to enjoy. He was, in fact, the personification of the Greatest Generation. I join all my siblings in sending our condolences.

Jamie, Mary, and family, I am so sad to hear of your dad's passing. I know we haven't seen each other in years, but I have had fond memories of you and your family over the years.

Uncle Wif was a special person who enjoyed much laughter with others. I know he is in heaven stirring things up with Aunt Nellie and all his other family members in heaven with him. It brings me smiles and comfort to have faith and believe it is this way. It helps take away some of the sorrow. Much love to my cousins in the Doerfler family.

I am one of his nieces. I am his brother harold children . I remember uncle wif. He was such a good . My heart goes out to the family . He will be missed . You are in my prayers and thoughts

I got to know Nellie and Wif from St. Mary’s church. Nellie and I made a church renewal together.
Through her met Wif and always a smile & laughter. He had a great sense of humor. Nellie was a wonderful person & loved deeply.
I can say i bet Wif never lost his sense of humor and his eyes would light up to see and talk to you. His deep love for Nellie and his children
Was the most important in his life. Prayers and much love to all of you. I still miss Nellie. You all should be proud.

Almost 50 years ago, Mick asked me what I looked for in a boyfriend and why did I choose John. I remember telling him what I liked the most was John's kindness. He got it from his mom and dad, of course. Wif and Nellie were just the kindest, most loving people.

I hope you all find comfort knowing how much your family is loved.

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