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Friends Remembered Home | Friends Detail

Bob Wegner (W9MON)

November 15, 1999

Bob was a math teacher at Highland Park (IL) High School and the trustee of their ham club for many years. The number of hams that he Elmered is huge. The following is copied from his obituary in the Chicago Tribune, November 16, 1999: ROBERT WEGNER, 55, MATH TEACHER By Meg McSherry Breslin Tribune Staff Writer November 16, 1999 Among the endearing qualities of longtime Highland Park High School math teacher Robert H. Wegner was his ability to help each student feel special. As head of the shortwave radio club, for example, he handed club members the thrill of a lifetime by arranging a talk with astrophysicist and Highland Park native John Grunsfeld via satellite and shortwave radio while Grunsfeld was on board the spaceshuttle Endeavour in 1995. "The kids were really excited about that," said Highland Park High School Principal Jane Gard, who said Mr. Wegner was among the school's finest teachers. "He made an ordinary activity pretty special." Mr. Wegner, a math teacher at Highland Park for 32 years, died Sunday of cancer in Condell Medical Center in Libertyville. A resident of Libertyville, he was 55. A native of Minnesota, Mr. Wegner graduated from St. Cloud State University. He received a master's degree from Northwestern University. In his more than three decades at Highland Park, Mr. Wegner distinguished himself among his colleagues for mentoring scores of teachers and for the personal interest he took in students. "He was so admired it is beyond imagination," said a former math teacher at the school, John Gale. "One after another, he influenced people. He was never chairman of the department, but he was like the spiritual leader of that math department, and he viewed teaching as a spiritual profession." While informing students of the death Monday, one math teacher told her students that they might not have known Mr. Wegner personally, but they did know him indirectly because "everything I've taught you has come through him in one way or another." For much of his career, Mr. Wegner helped his colleagues advance technologically. Years ago, he helped teachers learn to use graphing calculators, now a standard for math students. And in the classroom, he challenged students by forcing them to work through hypothetical problems rather than just memorize mathematical formulas. "He realized there was more to math than just solving problems," said Tom Leonard, department chairman. "There was teaching kids how to think." Although Mr. Wegner had been ill for much of the past two years, he kept a limited schedule for part of last school year and taught some classes until just a few weeks ago. "He was not a quitter," Gard said. He is survived by his wife, Emmi; two sons, Michael and David; his mother, Rose; two brothers, John and Donald; and two sisters, Sue Korman and Mary Corrigan. Visitation will be held from 3 to 5 p.m. Thursday at Grace Lutheran Church, 501 Valley Park Drive, Libertyville. A memorial service will follow at 5 p.m. at the church.

Contributed by: Greg Lapin (N9GL)

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