William H. Scharnweber

William 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

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Messages of Condolence

  1. Judy Popernik condolence:


    Please accept my deepest sympathies over
    the loss of your husband.

  2. Fabiana Lopapa condolence:

    Dr Scharnweber and family:
    May the loving and happy moments spent help ease the sense of loss during this time . My thoughts and prayers are with you .


  3. Daniel Hirt condolence:

    Mrs. Marcia Scharnweber,

    My deepest condolences to you and your family for this great loss.

    With warmest regards,

  4. Ruth Burke condolence:

    Marcia and family,
    I am so very sorry for the passing of Bill. I always enjoyed talking to him during our play outings. He was so knowledgeable and had great insight. I know he will be missed tremendously. I hope the special memories will comfort you at this time and in the future.

  5. Cindy Nissen condolence:

    Dear Marcia and family,
    Peace be with you and your family during this difficult time.
    Hugs, Cindy

  6. Gina Catapano condolence:

    Mrs Scharnweber and family , I am so very sorry to hear of Mr. Scharnwebers passing , I am sending my deepest condolences and prayers for your peace and comfort during this most difficult time.Hugs, Gina

  7. Alice Smeed condolence:

    Dear Marcia and family, I’m so sorry for your loss. I wish you comfort in knowing his pain has end and he is at peace.

  8. Helga Tawil-Souri condolence:

    Sending you my deepest condolences, Greta and family. May his memories be with you forever as you also find strength in being together through these hard times, Helga

  9. Joy and Don Lane condolence:

    Jan Bill and family we are so sorry for your loss. Remember Death leaves a heartache no one can heal. Love leaves memories no one can steal.
    God bless you all

  10. Mahnaz Keshavarzian condolence:

    Dear Gretha,Arang,Leo and Minoo

    Our deepest sympathy for your loss. May your memories of your good times together sustain you through this difficult period and provide comfort through the future.

    Mahnaz & Steve

  11. John Carbona condolence:

    I’m so very sorry for your loss!

    I fondly remember Bill from my many years at Follett’s late 80’s to early 2000’s.
    He was a great man, passionate about his work, his family and he was so kind to me.

    The cycle of life is often so hard to understand it can be very hard to accept, but one thing I know for sure is that Bill’s life and self here on earth was purposeful, kind, interesting sense of humor (lol) and supportive to all.

    May your hearts be comforted and your faith be strong. He will find ways to continue to touch you and share his extended heavenly love. I hope they bring you peace can comfort.

    With tremendous sorrow,

  12. David Klein condolence:

    My thoughts and prayers are with Bill and all of you. Both my wife Dawn and I worked with Bill for many years. Bill is quite a character and all in a very good way. He is fun to be around and was a good friend to us. He worked very hard and really cared about his life’s work. May God Bless.

  13. Christine Maxwell condolence:

    Marcia and Family,
    My deepest sympathies to you all on the loss of your beloved Bill. May God’s love bring you strength and comfort at such a difficult time.

  14. Dick Litzsinger condolence:

    I retired from Follett after 40 years in 1997. Bill was my friend many of those years. He was one of the unsung hero’s that made Follet a wonderful place to work. He grew to be in the perfect position for Follett and for him. It’s a lucky person who loves what he does and we were blessed to have him. I know what you and your family are going through because God called my wife, Dona home after 65 years of marriage last February 22 . Her passing was totally unexpected, and when we were told after a week in the hospital that she wasn’t going to make it, she only lasted nine days. Fortunately like me you are blessed with caring, loving children and you all have memories that no one can take away.’you are in my prayers . Dick Litzsingeo

  15. Jim and Heidi Baumann condolence:

    Sending our love to Marcia and family. Bill’s love for his family and for books was inspiring. Bill was curious and passionate about so many things and I learned much from his perspective and his expertise. Bill was a good friend and we are very saddened by his passing, and will miss Bill dearly. Marcia and family please take good care.
    Love, Jim & Heidi

  16. Pat and Bob Monson condolence:

    Bob and I want to say how very sorry we are to hear about Bill.

    The little time we spent with you and Bill here in Oregon, we really enjoyed visiting and meeting with you! It was obvious Bill was full of energy, intellect, joy, humor and love!

    Cheryl and Connie are devastated for they loved and adored him very much! We can see why.

    Both of you created a fabulous family and our hearts go out to all of you!!

    Such lovely memories you have to share forever!
    He was a beautiful soul

    Sending our sincere condolences!
    Pat and Bob Monson

  17. Debbie Worden condolence:

    I’m so sorry for your loss auntie . I feel very bad for the way things ended the last time my uncle and I spoke when grandma was passing. As a kid growing up you guys were always very gracious and we loved coming to your house to visit. I will always remember the great times we had together and uncle Bill will always be in our hearts. Love you,

  18. Taryn Roch condolence:

    Marcia, Kurt, Greta, Rudi & Karl,

    Bill really did know how to squeeze each drop of good out of life. I’m so grateful for the times I was able to spend with him, and all of you, over the holiday and in Door County – such great memories. My deepest sympathy for your loss – Bill leaves a legacy of living life to its fullest.


  19. Carolyn Ritten condolence:

    I did not know Bill well, but I’ve known him for years. We passed each other almost daily in the forest preserve, when I would be walking and he would usually be on his bike. We went from passing greetings to short conversations and a few longer ones. Reading his beautiful obituary, I realize I barely scratched the surface of an exceptional man.

    I’ve been out of town since October, so I only heard today of his untimely passing. I had noticed his absence on the trail and asked a mutual acquaintance. I’m so sorry for his family’s loss, and for all who knew him.

  20. David Johnson condolence:

    Dear Marcia, Over the years I’ve tried to find you and Bill, to no avail. Minutes ago, I found his obituary. I am so sorry. I will write to you soon and send my note to the mortuary for you. Weren’t we crazy, that PLU 1970-71 year? I was so brand new and Bill was too, and we rompeed together! I’ve missed you from the moment you left Tacoma. Sadly but gratefully, now I’ve found you. I’ll get a letter to you soon. Love, Dave

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