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In Memory of William Wimmer Jr

Tuesday, March 19, 2013   (0 Comments)
Posted by: Alumni Relations
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During his 24 years teaching art at Evanston Township High School and Harper College in Palatine, William Wimmer Jr. (MFA 1965) took the time to tutor many students and worked to revive printmaking programs at both schools.

Among his students at Evanston Township were acclaimed Chicago author and artist Audrey Niffenegger and Chicago artist Nicholas Sistler.

"Bill was really passionate about art and particularly about printmaking," Niffenegger said. "He spent three years after school just tutoring me in printmaking. Nobody gave him any brownie points for that. He did it because he loved it and saw an opportunity to pass it on to someone who would love it."

A longtime Arlington Heights resident, Mr. Wimmer, 80, died of bile duct cancer Monday, Jan. 28, in his home, his cousin Sonja Ceisel said.

Born in Chicago, Mr. Wimmer graduated from Arlington Heights High School in 1950, then studied art education and printmaking while pursuing a degree from the School of the Art Institute of Chicago. He studied under noted printmaker Vera Berdich.

After a hitch in the Army, he received a master of fine arts degree from the School of the Art Institute in 1963, then taught art at Evanston Township for the next 24 years.

Sistler said Mr. Wimmer was "always gentle, patient and kind," and also generous about providing students access to the school's art facilities, even after school.

"If a student was going to do something at all, they really need to be there in the art rooms all the time, and Bill would allow students to stay in the art room after classes were all over after school until about 5 o'clock in order to get more work done," Sistler said. "I can remember spending all of my free time in the printmaking room."

Printmaking classes eventually fell out of favor, and the high school dropped classes in it. However, the classes were reinstated about a decade later, after Niffenegger asked Mr. Wimmer to teach them.

"He totally changed my life," she said. "What he taught me is how I made a living for years. And he was one of those people who would attract other people who were really excited about being able to work with him."

After retiring from Evanston Township in 1988, Mr. Wimmer taught at the School of the Art Institute. In the fall of 1998 he joined Harper College's faculty as an adjunct art instructor. The school's studio was in disorder at that time, said Perry Pollock, Harper's Art Department chairman.

"Bill took it upon himself without pay to go the extra step to get things together and to bring everything up to speed," Pollock said. "He got paid for teaching the class but didn't get paid for the countless hours he spent on off-days just getting the studio back into shape again and getting everything working."

Pollock called Mr. Wimmer "a very knowledgeable technician" who was able to impart a range of traditional printmaking techniques to his students.

"He was there all week long and always had open studio hours for the kids to come in," Pollock said. "He had really good critiques with the students and was an all-around excellent resource for the department."

Artist Faustino Brito, a student of Mr. Wimmer's at Harper, recalled how generous Mr. Wimmer was with his time.

"He was one of a kind, the way he cared for students and the way he was always willing to do more, and he always did more for everybody, both as an instructor and as a person," Brito said. "He was a kind man."

Mr. Wimmer remained in the classroom at Harper until about six months before his death.

He left no immediate survivors.

Services were held.

To read the full article visit the official website.

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