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Photo of William H. Scharnweber

William H. Scharnweber


William H. Scharnweber, age 77, of LaGrange Park, passed away on February 7, 2021, after a shockingly short battle with advanced lung cancer and cascading complications. He is survived by his beloved wife Marcia Scharnweber, nee Larsen; his children Kurt Scharnweber, Greta (Arang Keshavarzian) Scharnweber, Rudi Scharnweber and Karl (Amber) Scharnweber; and his grandchildren Leo and Minu Keshavarzian and Catherine, Henry and Mallory Scharnweber; his sisters Jean Amina and Janet (Bill) Zirwes; his aunt Harriet Sprouse; and many nieces and nephews.

Bill was born in Duluth, Minnesota, but his parents soon moved to Boone, Iowa, where he spent his early years. When he was in fourth grade, his family moved to Glasgow, Montana, where he found his true home. From that moment on, he was a Montanan, even after leaving. He attended Pacific Lutheran University in Tacoma, Washington, graduating with a Bachelor of Arts in European History. He was an excellent oboist and played in the University Band, where he met a pretty clarinetist who was also from Montana. They began a romance that would endure for nearly 57 years. After PLU, Bill earned his Master of Arts in Medieval and Renaissance History from Washington State University, married the love of his life, Marcia, and they began building their life together. They moved to Ann Arbor, Michigan, where he started work toward a PhD in Medieval History at the University of Michigan, and Marcia began her teaching career. One day while walking by Follett’s College Bookstore, Bill noticed a help wanted sign in the window. Books being a great force in his life, he inquired, was hired and soon thereafter changed his career path. He worked for Follett College Stores for the next 30 years, moving his growing family of four beautiful children several times as he was promoted through the ranks, living in 5 different states and finally ending his career in Chicago as the Director of Intellectual Property for the entire College Stores Division. A friend once remarked that he was so lucky - he got to read for a living! The book business was the perfect career for a guy for whom reading and improving one’s mind was as important as breathing.

Bill will be remembered by his family for his gregarious personality and enormous appetite for the simple pleasures in life. He filled our lives with books and learning, and his children knew how proud he was of their accomplishments. He loved all kinds of sports, from watching his own children and grandchildren participate to any and all college and professional teams. The cruel irony that he passed away on Super Bowl Sunday is not lost on those of us who knew him; he was a true armchair quarterback and his animated rants at the TV were something to behold. He was also an avid bicyclist, and completed Chicago’s Bike the Drive 30-mile Challenge for many years running. In 2020, he rode 3,475 miles on his signature “Team Bill” orange LeMond bike.

Bill also relished cooking and eating with family and friends (especially Sunday breakfasts), and his appreciation of good beer, wine, and gin martinis was infectious. The joy of making and listening to music, especially classical and jazz, is another legacy he leaves us to carry on. We will miss his dapper fashion sense that embraced hats, bow ties, pocket watches, and the occasional wild jacket or pants. His vintage style extended to a grand affinity for leisurely travel by train. Countless bike rides, walks, concerts, operas, plays, games of catch, pontoon boat excursions, and travels far and wide are just a snapshot of the many fond memories we have of Bill that somehow must fill the hole his absence creates. He left us too soon, and will be sorely missed.

In accordance with his wishes, Bill’s remains have been donated to the Anatomical Gift Association of Illinois.

Services will not be held at this time due to the risks presented by COVID-19.

In lieu of flowers, a memorial in his honor to your choice of the following would be appreciated:

American Lung Association - American Lung Association, 55 W. Wacker Drive, Suite 1150, Chicago, IL 60601

Compassion and Choices - Compassion & Choices Gift Processing Center, PO Box 485, Etna, NH 03750

The Seminary Co-op - Seminary Co-op Bookstore, c/o Director, 5751 S. Woodlawn Ave., Chicago, IL 60637

For those of you that would like to express your condolences to the family, please click on the link below and you can leave the family a message. If you wish to send a sympathy card to the family, please feel free to send it to Hitzeman Funeral Home, 9445 West 31st Street, Brookfield, IL 60513, c/o William Scharnweber Family. We will gladly forward it on to the family.

Information 708-485-2000 or www.HitzemanFuneral.com