May 242022

Stanley Barnes ’58 of Zionsville, Indiana, died May 2, 2022. He was 85. Stan played basketball and was active in Sigma Chi at Illinois Wesleyan. He began his professional career at National Distillers and Chemical Company in Tuscola, Illinois. He later accepted a job with the company in New York City that allowed him to travel the world. After 16 years in New York, he made a career change and purchased TransCity Terminal Warehouse and Transfer Trucking, Inc.; he served as owner and president of the company for 10 years before retiring in 1993. Stan loved to play golf and was a member at clubs in Indianapolis and Scottsdale, Arizona. He enjoyed sports, reading and spending time with family. He is survived by his wife, four children, eight grandchildren and four great-grandchildren.

 Posted by at 12:53 pm
May 242022

Norman Erickson ’50 died May 17, 2022. He was 95. Norm served in the U.S. Navy during World War II before attending Illinois Wesleyan, where he was active in Tau Kappa Epsilon. He later earned a master’s degree at Roosevelt University. Norm taught physical education and coached basketball for 36 years at Deer Path Junior High School in Lake Forest, Illinois; his legacy there is honored by way of the annual Norm Erickson Invitational Tournament. Norm also remained connected to athletics as an Illinois High School Association basketball and football official. Norm served for 19 years as a Libertyville (Ill.) Township trustee, and as waterfront director, camp director and owner of Camp Mishawaka in Grand Rapids, Minnesota. Norm loved the Green Bay Packers and Chicago Cubs. He loved his friends and family even more. He is survived by three sons, four grandchildren and four great-grandchildren. You can read his full obituary here.

May 242022

Patricia (Hartman) Yoder ’53 of Bloomington, Illinois, died May 13, 2022. She was 91. Pat majored in elementary education and was active in Kappa Kappa Gamma Sorority at Illinois Wesleyan. She met her late husband, John Yoder ’49, the older brother of her roommate, during her time as an IWU student. Illinois Wesleyan played an important role in the Yoders’ lives; they were dedicated fans of the Titans their entire lives and returned to campus regularly. Pat taught at Jefferson School in Bloomington before she and John started their family. She was a fun, creative mom who loved to cook and entertain, especially when hosting family gatherings. Pat was a member of the Bloomington-Normal Symphony Orchestra Guild, where she held a variety of leadership positions. She and John also loved spending time at their second home in Cambria, California, where she also enjoyed hosting family and friends. She is survived by five children, including John Yoder ’78, 12 grandchildren and seven great-grandchildren. You can read her full obituary here.

May 182022

Harold Bennett ’52 of Lake Summerset, Illinois, died May 9, 2022. He was 91. Harold majored in physical education and served as a teacher and coach for 43 years. He taught and coached multiple sports at schools in the Illinois communities of Earlville, Morris, Cary-Grove, Carmi, Newark, Bradley-Bourbonnais and Durand. He compiled more than 500 coaching wins as a basketball coach and was named to the Illinois Basketball Coaches Association Hall of Fame in 1987. In 2006, he was inducted into the Newark Sports Hall of Fame, as he was credited for starting a strong basketball tradition at the school. He was survived by his wife, three children, four grandchildren, two great-grandchildren, a sister and many extended family members. You can read more here.

 Posted by at 10:10 am
Apr 122022

Frank New ’53 of Tempe, Arizona, died Mar 24, 2022. He was 91. Frank earned a bachelor’s degree at Illinois Wesleyan University and a master’s degree from Garrett Theological School in Evanston, Illinois. While at IWU, he met and married Mary Lou (Doland) New ’53. Frank spent 44 years as a Methodist minister in Central Illinois. He and Mary Lou retired to Sun Lakes, Arizona, where he spent two years on staff at Sun Lakes United Methodist Church. In 2005, they moved to and became active residents of Life Care Retirement Community at Friendship Village of Tempe. After a cancer diagnosis, they moved to an assisted living facility, where they lived for two years. Through his life and work, Frank touched many lives. He is survived by his wife, three children, including Sherry New ’79, four grandchildren and one great-grandchild.

 Posted by at 4:50 pm
Mar 292022

Mario Mancinelli of Bloomington, Illinois, died March 15, 2022. He was 99. Mario served as a faculty member in Illinois Wesleyan’s School of Music for 35 years. He was hired in 1948 to teach strings and chamber music, and conduct the student orchestra. He retired in 1983 with emeritus status. Mario attended Ohio State University, where he earned bachelor’s and master’s degrees. He was also a faculty member at Brevard Music Center for 25 years. He was a member of the American String Teachers Association, American Federation of Musicians, Phi Mu Alpha Sinfonia, and an honorary member of Phi Kappa Phi. Mario was an accomplished violinist and played regularly in Central Illinois orchestras. He enjoyed crossword puzzles, playing and listening to classical music, playing cards, and watching the Indianapolis 500, World Series and the Olympics. He was a longtime member of the Unitarian Universalist Church of Bloomington-Normal. He is survived by two children and a granddaughter. 

 Posted by at 4:26 pm
Mar 232022

Helen “Bee” (Schaeffer) Bennison ’45 died Feb. 18, 2022, in Bloomington, Illinois. She was 98. Helen was active in Kappa Kappa Gamma and met future husband Jacob Bennison ’44 during her time at Illinois Wesleyan. The Bennisons lived briefly in Park Forest, Illinois, and Lafayette, Indiana, before moving in 1954 to Bethesda, Maryland, where Helen worked for the National Institutes of Health in its grants division. In retirement, the Bennisons moved to Madison, Wisconsin. After Jake’s death in 2014, Helen returned to her hometown of Bloomington. Helen was an excellent seamstress and enjoyed flower gardening. She cared deeply for her family and had special relationships with her late husband, children, grandchildren and great-grandchildren. She was preceded in death by her husband and sister Charlotte Schaeffer ’44. She is survived by three daughters, including Charlotte (Bennison) Donat ’70 and Carol (Bennison) Nyweide ’73, six grandchildren and three great-grandchildren.

 Posted by at 12:55 pm
Feb 092022

Richard Puffer ’53 of Ludington, Michigan, died Dec. 13, 2021. He was 90. Richard majored in business administration at Illinois Wesleyan and met future wife Alison (Cope) Puffer ’52 during their time together at IWU. Richard served in the U.S. Navy from 1953-56, stationed in Hawaii, and it was there that he and Alison began their family. Having earned a master’s degree at Illinois State University and a doctorate at Northwestern University, Richard went on to a career in education. He held positions of assistant superintendent of Cook County schools in Illinois, dean of Kirkwood Community College in Cedar Rapids, Iowa, and finally president of Black Hawk Community College in Moline, Illinois. Richard and Alison were active in the Quad Cities community; they participated with their children in Quad City Music Guild productions, and Richard was involved in Rotary Club and Boy Scouts. In retirement, the Puffers moved to Michigan, where Richard remained active in the Rotary Club. Even after Alison’s death in 2020, Richard enjoyed gazing out his window over Hamlin Lake, watching birds retrieve seeds from his feeders and having a friendly dog to pet. He is survived by three children and five grandchildren.

 Posted by at 11:43 am
Jan 112022

Robert Guenzler ’53 ’56
of Aurora, Illinois, died Dec. 30, 2021. He was 90. Bob earned a bachelor’s degree in music education while studying vocal music and French horn at Illinois Wesleyan. He was drafted into the U.S. Army just one month after marrying Mary Ann (Hagmeyer) Guenzler ’53, and he later returned to IWU on the GI Bill to earn a master’s degree. Bob began his career as an educator in Charleston, Illinois, before spending the majority of his career in Illinois School District 218, where he worked at Dwight D. Eisenhower, Harold L. Richards and Alan B. Shepard high schools in suburban Chicago. Bob was an active member of the Illinois Education Association and the National Education Association. He was a leader in the National Association for Music Education and served as chair of the Retired Music Teachers Association. Bob was a member of the Chicago Symphony Chorus for 28 years. In retirement, he continued to perform in regional choruses and played the French horn in community orchestras. He and Mary Ann were members at Grace United Methodist Church in Naperville, Illinois, where Bob sang in the choir. Bob and Mary Ann never lost their love of learning and desire to serve their communities; they registered voters, worked as election judges, and were recognized as Illinois Wesleyan’s Loyalty Award winners in 1998. Bob adored his family and could always be found at his children’s and grandchildren’s sporting events, concerts, school events and family celebrations. He is survived by his wife, daughters Susan (Guenzler) Getz ’77, Marsha Guenzler-Stevens ’78 and Pamela (Guenzler) DeBoer ’82, six grandchildren, including Amy DeBoer ’15, and three great-grandchildren.

 Posted by at 4:23 pm