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John Wilen

Nov. 29, 1933-April 27, 2009

John G. "Jack" Wilen, 75, of Detroit Lakes, died Monday April 27, 2009 at St. Mary's Innovis Health in Detroit Lakes.

John "Jack" Wilen was born to Eldon and Marcella (Murray) Wilen on Nov. 29, 1933 in Knoxville, Iowa. As a young child he and his family moved to Los Angeles, Calif., where Jack grew up and received his education. He attended El Camino Community College in Los Angeles, and later received a bachelor's degree in electrical engineering from the University of California-Los Angeles.

Jack started his career as an electrical engineer with the Northrop-Grumman Corporation in Los Angeles, and later was employed by Allied Signal for 31 years. Following his retirement he had a consulting company, WIC Engineering in Torrance, Calif., for several years.

On Sept. 23, 1989 Jack married Charlene Conley in Torrence, Calif. They made their home in Torrence for one year before moving to Detroit Lakes in 1990 to care for his ailing mother. Jack liked to restore cars, collect model cars, and collect and build model airplanes. He was also a World War II history buff, and enjoyed traveling to airplane museums, and spending time with his cats.

Surviving Jack are his wife, Charlene; one son, John (Bridget) Wilen of Neutown Township, Pa.; three daughters, Elizabeth Wilen, of Nashville Tenn., Jennifer (Ryan Lynch) Wilen of Brooklyn, N.Y., and Melissa Wilen of Los Angeles; stepdaughter, Debbie (Jon) Boydstun and stepson, Craig Conley, both of Martinez, Calif.; three granddaughters; two half brothers; one half sister; and close friends, Bill Block, Dave (Carrie) Johnston and Morgan and Zane Johnston, all of Detroit Lakes.

Preceding him in death were his parents and an aunt, Katherine Murray.

Funeral services are set for 7 p.m. Friday, May 1 at West-Kjos Funeral Home in Detroit Lakes, with the Rev. Jerry Rogers officiating. The service will be preceded by visitation from 5 to 7 p.m., including a rosary at 6:30 p.m.

Arrangements have been entrusted to West-Kjos Funeral Home in Detroit Lakes. Those wanting to share memories and condolences are invited to use the funeral home's online messages of sympathy section at