Wayne H. “Dutch” Weidlich, 79, of Negaunee Township, passed away on December 18, 2022 in Park Ridge, IL with family by his side.
Wayne was born on June 12, 1943 in Springfield, MA to Henry and Mildred (Winquist) Weidlich. He soon acquired his lifelong nickname “Dutch” as he resembled the boy on the Dutch Boy Paint logo. Dutch’s deep connection to the natural world began during his childhood where he spent much of his time working alongside his father, Henry, Head Agriculturalist at Templeton Farm Colony (Waltham, MA).
Dutch received a Bachelor’s and Master’s degree from University of New Hampshire, PhD from Duke University, and completed post-doctorate work at Harvard. Dutch published twenty-three articles related to Botany with an emphasis on the American Chestnut tree blight. It was during his college years when he met and married Sandy. Together they shared a love for Appalachian Bluegrass music and Dutch’s unique banjo picking skills evolved.
Initially drawn to the state of Michigan to fill a dream position as a professor of Botany at Michigan State University, Dutch found his true calling years later with the Michigan Dyslexia Institute. At MDI, Dutch supported those with dyslexia by serving as the Director at their Flint office and later opening a Marquette location. Dutch was also an active member of the Flint and Marquette Rotary clubs. After retiring from MDI, he served his community as a teaching assistant for Marquette Senior High School where he could sometimes be seen strumming his banjo in the morning.
Always humble, Dutch was a man of many talents and interests. He was an avid seeker and collector of knowledge. At the age of 12, he found his passion for the Acer saccharum and enjoyed teaching his children and grandchildren the techniques of sugaring and sharing the sweet results. He proudly wore Hiawatha Music Festival performer shirts, earned by sharing his knowledge in clawhammer banjo techniques during the festivals various workshops. He was a homebrewer before it became a trend, and a garden enthusiast who believed that the fallen leaves would always “take care of themselves.” Above all, Dutch was most proud of his children and grandchildren, always their number one fan near or far.
Dutch is survived by his wife of 55 years, Sandra K. Weidlich of Negaunee Township; daughters, Jessica (Hector) Castellanos of Des Plaines, IL and Thyra (Aaron) Karlstrom of Negaunee Township; grandchildren, Claudio, Isabella, Luscia, Quin, and Lotus; and sister, Laurie Weidlich-Kuntz of Bozeman, MT. He was preceded in death by his parents, Henry and Mildred Weidlich.
Per Dutch’s wishes, no formal services will be held.
Canale & Pennock Funeral Service is assisting the family where memories may be shared at canalepennock.com
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