Raymond G. Vendsel was born to Walter and Julia Vendsel, on November 25, 1917 at the farm home of his mother's sister in Stafford Township of Renville County, North Dakota. He graduated from Lansford High School in the spring of 1934. On December 1, 1940 he married Ester Bryans at Bottineau, North Dakota. Together, they had two children, Bryan and Judith. In the spring of the following year they began ranching on her parents homestead. Vendsel enlisted in the U.S. Army on July 17, 1942, at Fort Snelling, Minnesota. After serving his country during World War II, he was given an Honorable Discharge with the rank of Captain, leaving from Camp McCoy, Wisconsin, on January 13, 1946.
Politically inclined, Vendsel became a member of the North Dakota Young Democrats in 1948 and three years later he became President of that organization and was also North Dakota Committeeman for the Young Democrats. In 1954 the Democrats nominated Vendsel and P.W. Lanier as candidates for the United States House of Representatives. Although defeated in this election, Vendsel returned in 1956 to defeat Martin Stenehjen, Jr. for a seat in the North Dakota State Senate. In November of 1958 Vendsel ran against William Langer for the United States Senate and was defeated. Two years later he was defeated again when he campaigned for a seat in the U.S. House of Representatives. Shortly after the election of 1960, Vendsel was appointed to a post in the United States Department of the Interior by President John F. Kennedy, a man greatly admired by Vendsel.
Vendsel was also involved in other state and local organizations and committees. He was part of the advisory council of the North Dakota Stockman's Association, and Chairman of the Souris River Telephone Board for many years. Vendsel was president of the Great Northern Investment Company, Renville-Bottineau Agriculture Improvement Association, Mouse River Cattleman's Association, and the Carpio Community Club. He was a member of many other organizations, such as Elks and 40 & 8.
Raymond G. Vendsel died on January 18, 1989 in the Good Samaritan Nursing Home, Mohall, North Dakota.
Donation; Acc. #80-635
The Raymond Vendsel Papers contain political correspondence, newspaper clippings, scrapbooks and memorabilia dating from 1953 to 1975. Also included is a research paper regarding Vendsel written by a student at Minot State Teacher’s College. The scrapbooks consist primarily of undated newspaper clippings and are political in subject. The political campaigns of Raymond Vendsel are included in the scrapbooks.
Thirteen photographs were separated and placed in the Photograph File Cabinets.