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Girard W. Weber

Published November 13,2020

Obituary's Biography:

Dr. Girard William Weber (Jerry) of Grayslake, IL passed away on November 11th, 2020 surrounded by family, due to pancreatic cancer at the age of 70. Jerry was a devoted husband, father, and community college president. He was a man of big ideas, compassionate leadership, and eternal optimism.

Jerry was born in Watseka, IL. He grew up in Arlington Heights, as the third oldest sibling with eight brothers and sisters. His own father passed away when Jerry was only 20 years old, which led Jerry to become a supportive paternal figure to many of his younger siblings, who he remained close to throughout his life. Jerry was fortunate to meet the love of his life, Mary, in high school. They wed in 1978 and had one daughter and twin sons. Jerry was devoted to his three children. He encouraged them to follow their passions, explore new ideas, and remain open to life’s opportunities. After his children started families of their own, Jerry took pleasure in taking his grandchildren fishing, making ice cream with them, and teaching them checkers and chess.

Jerry spent his entire career working in education. He started as a substitute high school teacher, but quickly transitioned into working at community colleges. He often referred to his work as “the best job on earth.” He loved to work with adult learners because he found them to be deeply focused on their education even while raising families and working other jobs. Jerry was truly committed to every person in society receiving access to education no matter their background.

Jerry received two masters’ degrees, in English literature and Linguistics and Educational Measurement and Statistics. He continued on to receive a Doctoral Degree in Education Administration from the University of Iowa. Jerry began his career teaching English at Harper College. He then transitioned to education administration, serving as an administrator at John Wood Community College and Triton College.

He then went on to become the very first Vice President of Heartland Community College, Jerry helped to transform the school from its humble beginnings in a strip mall into the beautiful sprawling campus that exists today. Jerry’s passion and skills soon led to his advancement into the role of President of Kankakee Community College, where he was able to shape the vision of the college, helping expand educational programs and champion sustainability initiatives at the college.

These ideas became some of the hallmarks of Jerry’s career. He was passionate about sustainability through commissioning energy efficient buildings for college campuses, starting educational programs in renewable energy, and promoting organizations in his field that encouraged resiliency practices. He was the founder of the Illinois Green Economy Network (IGEN), which helped Illinois community colleges work towards these goals. Jerry continued this important work when he became the President of the College of Lake County and the President of Bellevue Community College.

One of Jerry’s greatest joys was providing mentorship to colleagues within the higher education community. He served a term on the board of directors of the American Association of Community Colleges. Jerry was also active in many organizations within the higher education system and served on numerous local boards and committees.

Jerry was an optimist and a great communicator who brought people together in the pursuit of positive change. He loved traveling around the world to create educational connections and gain new experiences. He enjoyed a good joke and made sure to tell many throughout his final days. His family saw him deal with cancer without complaint, staying positive and finding ways to make those around him laugh and smile. All of his hard work in education truly came full circle while Jerry was sick in the hospital. A nurse helping him told Jerry that this was his pay-it-forward moment because that nurse had received his education at the College of Lake County.

Jerry retired in April 2020, and enjoyed spending time with family and friends while continuing to work on sustainability projects for community colleges. He felt very fortunate to have a supportive and loving family throughout his life. His wife was always by his side while raising their family, listening to all of his big ideas, supporting his career choices, and helping him through his final battle with cancer.

Jerry is predeceased by his parents Margaret and Gerard Weber; survived by his wife, Mary Weber; his 6 brothers Larry, Ron, Don, Jeffrey, Glen, and Chris and two sisters Margaret and Ann; his three children, Lauren (Kevin), Jonathan (Katie), and Gregory (Nicole); and his six grandchildren, Lyla, Hazel, Cole, Emmaline, Adelaide, and Eliza.

Due to Covid, a service will be planned for a later date. Please enter your email here to know the plans: https://www.jerryweber.life/service

In lieu of flowers, donations can be made to the Kankakee Community College Foundation http://foundation.kcc.edu/ or the College of Lake County Foundation https://www.clcillinois.edu/aboutclc/clc-foundation.

Below are obituaries written in local newspapers:

4 replies on “Girard W. Weber”

  1. Mary,
    Nancy and I send our love and prayers to you and your Family as
    we too grieve Jerry’s passing. We had so many good times around the
    world with Jerry and were always happy when you could join him. We are
    especially grateful for the hospitable reception you both provided
    when we were with you at Bellevue last year. May it be some comfort
    knowing Jerry made a hundred years of contribution to our higher
    education sector in his 70 years of life. He was a great leader and
    made substantial contributions to the Post-secondary International
    Network (PIN). May his impact continue to make this world a better
    place. From your friends from Minnesota, you have all our sympathy.
    Love, Nancy & Sertich

    Dr. Joe Sertich, President Emeritus

  2. Bob Youssi let me know of Jerry’s passing. I thought of Jerry a couple of weeks ago when my wife gave me an old book of great American and English poets. I looked to see if Wallace Stevens poem, “The Emperor of Ice Cream” was in it. Of course it was. I noted on my facebook page that Jerry was the first person to open my eyes to poetry with that poem and I was forever thankful for that. I can’t say that there was a great mystical happening there…but I’d sure like to think so. All my love to you and your family.

  3. So sad to hear of Jerry’s passing. When I served as faculty senate chairman at College of Lake County I loved working with him. He helped bring CLC into the 21st century starting the sustainability movement and planning of the long needed renovations of buildings and starting the construction of new sustainable wings. His contributions to CLC were immense. I wish his family well.

  4. Dear Mary, Lauren, Jonathan, Gregory, Larry, Margaret, and Family,

    As the Director of Alumni Relations Emeritus at Saint Viator High School, I offer you the sympathy and prayers of the Saint Viator/Sacred Heart of Mary community, as well as my own. Our hearts go out to you as you move through your journey of grief, with your sadness amplified by the contrast of the holiday festivities surrounding you. You are in our prayers as you share the stories…laugh and cry…and find ways to celebrate Jerry’s life and the love he shared with you.

    We are proud to “claim” Jerry as an alumnus. Jerry certainly used his talents, especially in the field of secondary education, to make this world a better place. As I read his obituary a reading from the Book of Sirach came to mind.

    Let us praise an illustrious man,
    faithful to his family and friends, strong in his love.
    At peace in his heart and his world,
    he has left us his good name, and we recount his life of praiseworthy deeds.
    A generous man his good works will never be forgotten.
    Among his family and friends there remains a rich inheritance born of him….
    His name lives on from generation to generation.
    We gather to sing his praises.
    We will proclaim his wisdom and love of life all our days.

    We want you to know that Saint Viator will remember Jerry and celebrate the fact that Jerry continues to be a member of our community. Next fall we will send you information about our annual Alumni Memorial Mass, which will be celebrated around November 2, All Soul’s Day, in the Alumni Memorial Chapel at Saint Viator. Also, at that time a small plaque with Jerry’s name will be placed on our wall in the chapel along with the names of other deceased alumni from Saint Viator and Sacred Heart of Mary. Jerry’s name will be listed in the “In Memoriam” section of the winter issue of our news magazine, A Lion for Life.

    May memories of Jerry comfort you!
    May the knowledge that Jerry lives on in your goodness give you peace and hope!

    Take care and God bless!

    Judith Wampach Amberg – Saint Viator High School Director of Alumni Relations Emeritus

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