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Dr. Victor D. Weber

Dr. Victor D. Weber

Long time Athletic Director and Chair of the Division of Health, Physical Education, Recreation, Dance, Outdoor Education and Drivers Education, Dr. Victor D. Weber 91 of Bemidji, MN passed away on April 27th, 2014 at home.

Celebration of Life will be held on Saturday, May 10, 2014 at 10:30 am at the First Presbyterian Church with Pastor Lou Ellen Hartley officiating. A visitation will be held from 5:00 -8:00 PM on Friday May 9th with a prayer service at 7:30PM at the Olson Schwartz Funeral Home in Bemidji, MN and visitation will be one hour prior to the service at the church. Burial will be at Greenwood Cemetery in Bemidji, MN with full military honors.

Vic was born and grew up in Harlan, Iowa the son of George and Leora Weber where he graduated from Harlan High School in 1940 and lettered in football, basketball, and track. His university career at Iowa State University began in the fall of 1940 but was interrupted for a thirty-nine month period of military service in the U.S. Army Engineers. Twenty seven of these months Vic spent in Europe where he earned the European Theater Campaign Ribbon, Good Conduct Medal, Victory Medal, 4 ETO Battle Stars, 4 Silver Stars, a presidential unit citation and the French feure guerre. While in Europe Vic served in England, Wales, France, Germany and Austria prior to being discharged from active duty on December 24, 1945. While in the service with the 333rd Special Engineer Battalion and the 10th Combat Engineer Battalion of the 3rd Infantry Division he was most of the time in the front units inspecting bridges, mapping mine fields, surveying roads as he moved from rifleman, temporary medic, camouflage specialist, squad leader to acting platoon Sargent. Following the war prior to being discharged Vic was named fullback on the All Normandy Team in Football.

Following his return to the United States, Vic married the love of his life Elaine Irene Johnson in Elkhorn IA and finished his baccalaureate degree at Iowa State University with majors in physical education and math and a minor in industrial education. He served as co-captain of the football team for two years and earned 3 letters in football and one in baseball. Vic was named to several All American Teams in Football his senior year and drafted by the Detroit Lions. Since he could make more money teaching and coaching he started his coaching career in 1948 teaching PE, Health, Biology at West Union High School in West Union IA while being the Head Football, Basketball and Track Coach. After a year at West Union, he progressed to Clear Lake IA where he taught PE, Math and Economics while serving as Head Football, Basketball and Track Coach for three years. In 1952, Vic moved to Ottawa, IL where he taught math and served as the Head Football and Track Coach and assistant in Basketball at the high school. In 1954, the lure of playing the biggest high schools in Illinois saw Vic moving his family to Kankakee where he taught Physical Education and serving as Head Football and Track Coach and four years as a Basketball Assistant and one year as Head Wrestling Coach. During this time Vic utilized his summers to earn a Masters Degree from the University of Iowa. In 1958 Vic accepted a graduate assistance instructor position at the University of Colorado so he could continue the work he had started to complete his Ed.D. degree.

In 1959, Vic was brought to Bemidji State University by Dr. Harry Fritz to teach in the Department of Physical Education, service as Intramural Director, Head Track Coach, Assistant Football Coach and to utilize his engineering background to plan and supervise the construction of BSUs current Physical Education Complex which many feel should be named after him. At that time BSU had a total enrollment of 1200 students. In later years he also planned and supervised the building of the John Glass Field House and the Ted Gillett Recreation Complex. In the winter of 1959, Vic started the BSU Intercollegiate Ice Hockey Program compiling a 42-19-2 record as Head Coach until 1966 when Bob Peters took over. He continued to Coach the Mens Track Team until 1965 with several athletes placing at the NAIA National Meets and his 1963 Team Winning the NAIA District 13 Track and Field Championship. During this time he continued as an assistant in football until becoming Athletic Director and Chairman of the Department of Physical Education in 1964 serving in that dual role for 17 more years.

During Vics leadership, with the help of a strong faculty, the Department of Physical Education added a major in Health Education, minors in Adapted Physical Education, Recreation, Dance, Outdoor Education and Drivers Education and graduate programs in Physical Education and Adapted Physical Education to become the Division of Health, Physical Education Recreation, Dance, Outdoor Education and Drivers Education with nearly 1000 undergraduate student and 50 graduate students as BSU grew from 1200 students to over 5000 students by 1980. With the addition of cross country skis, downhill skis, snow shoes, three power boats for water skiing, 20 sailboats, 20 canoes, 15 kayaks, three pontoons and two army surplus landing craft BSU had one of the largest Recreation, Outdoor Education and activity program in the United States. From 1969-1985, the Physical Education Major was considered one of the top three Physical Education majors in the United States.

Also at BSU Vic served as the chair and his wife Elaine served as a member on the committee that made recommendations and developed the nursing program at BSU.

When Vic arrived at BSU in 1959, the BSU athletic program consisted of the four mens sports of football, basketball, baseball and track. Under his leadership and many excellent coaches hired over the years he was able to expand the BSU athletic program to 22 varsity sports for men and women. To the original four sports for men Vic oversaw the addition of cross country, swimming, wrestling, gymnastics, golf and tennis. With Title IX approaching he oversaw the addition of volleyball, basketball, track, cross country, swimming, gymnastics, golf, tennis, skiing and field hockey which later became womens ice hockey for women. During his period as Athletic Director, BSU was a perennial power at the NAIA National Championships in Mens Ice Hockey, Mens and Womens Swimming, Men and Womens Gymnastics, Wrestling, Mens and Womens Golf. They also had individuals regularly representing BSU in Mens and Womens Track, and had the Mens and Womens Basketball Teams and the Baseball Team each reaching the National Championships once each. Vic saw the benefits of both men and women participating in athletics from an educational and personal standpoint. As he used to say, "In higher education it is our responsibility to provide the leaders of tomorrow and to do so we need to have good programs, facilities, teachers and coaches to equip them with the tools and experiences to do so." Vic is a member of the BSU Athletic Hall of Fame and the NCIS Athletic Hall of Fame.

Vics extracurricular professional activities include extensive service to the NAIA organization and to various education associations. Among his contributions to NAIA he served four year terms as Secretary, Vice President, and President to the NAIA Coaches Association, a membership on the NAIA Coaches Association Board of Directors between 1976 and 1980 and on the NAIA District 13 Executive Board for 12 years. During this period of service he was a mover and shaker in establishing National Championships for Men in Hockey, Football, Swimming, Wrestling, Gymnastics, Golf, Tennis and Cross Country. He also oversaw the start of NAIA National Championships for Women in Volleyball, Basketball, Track and Field, Swimming, Gymnastic, Softball, Golf, and Tennis. He directed the NAIA National Championship Football games in 1979 and 1980 and served as chairman of the NAIA Track and Field All American Selection Committee in 1964-1965. He was a founding member of the International Intercollegiate Hockey Association and served several terms as its President. He chaired the NAIA Hockey Coaches Association from 1968 to 1971 and served as the NAIA representative to the United States Olympic Ice Hockey Committee from 1969-1976. He directed the NAIA National Hockey tourneys in 1971 and 1974 at BSU. For his continued and faithful service Vic received the National NAIA Award of Merit in 1971 and 1975.

Vics involvement in sports was not just at the college level. He was instrumental in the development of the youth and high school programs for hockey, swimming, gymnastics and golf in Bemidji. While serving on the Bemidji Parks and Recreation Board he was involved in the purchase of land and development of Cameron Park, Neilson Reece Arena, City Park, and Nymore Park.

Vic was also very involved in the Minnesota Association for Health, Physical Education, Minnesota Education Association and the American Association for Health Physical Education, Recreation and Dance serving in several leadership roles with these groups. One of the leadership positions that he was especially proud of was Chairing the committee that established teacher certification requirements for Minnesota Teachers in Adapted Physical Education and the certification of University Programs throughout the state in this area.

Besides promoting athletics in the area, Vic was a member of the Lions Club for 60 years serving on the Board of Directors and as President, member of the American Legion Club, Elks Club, Masonic Lodge, and Bemidji Town and Country Club where he served on the Board of Directors. He was a member of Bemidjis First Presbyterian Church and served two terms as an Elder, Deacon and on the Board of Trustees. After the death of his wife Elaine, Vic became a volunteer for Homecare/ Hospice. Seeing a great need in the community and surrounding area, Vic approached Homecare/Hospice with the idea of developing a help team to deliver medication to home bound patients, transportation to and from medical appointments, snow removal, raking of leaves and other minor house hold jobs. Vic helped coordinate this task team for many years putting on an estimated 3,000 miles a year on his truck. . For his volunteer work Vic was named 1999 Outstanding Senior Citizen of Beltrami County and on several occasions was cited by then North Country Hospital and Clinic for his volunteer work. In addition Vic has been a volunteer for Meals on Wheels, American Lung Association Fund Drives, the Food shelf, Beaver Pride Membership Drives, and served on the BSU Athletic hall of Fame Selection Committee.

Vic was an avid golfer, hunter, fisherman, water skier, enjoyed reading, social dancing with his best partner Elaine, and a variety of outdoor fitness activities. He and his wife were fortunate to travel to all 50 United States, Mexico, Canada, Iceland, Denmark, Norway, Sweden, England Wales, Belgium, Holland, France, Monaco, Italy, Austria, Switzerland and Germany.

Vic was preceded in death by his parents George and Leora Weber, his brother Bob, his sister in law Ginny, and his wife of 48 years, Elaine.

Vic is survived by his children Diane Norling (Mick Rider) of Renton WA, Steve Weber (Lori) of Edgerton WI, and son Bob Weber (Nancy) of Bemidji, seven grandchildren Maddie Weber of River Falls WI, Meridith Norling Aspen CO, Matt Norling Marysville, WA, Zach Norling (Ann) of Liberty Lake, WA, Ryan Weber of Minneapolis, MN, Mindy Weber (Lowell McRoberts) of Austin , TX, and Heidi Harris (Michael) of Baltimore MD, and five great grandchildren Amelia McRoberts, Louisa McRoberts, Simon McRoberts of Austin, TX, Victoria Norling and Blakely Norling of Liberty Lake, WA.

The family asks that rather than flowers that memorial be sent to the family with the designation to be given to the First Presbyterian Church Victor Weber Memorial Account for technology improvements in the church or for the Bemidji State University Foundation for Athletic Scholarships. If $100,000 can be raised for scholarships the BSU Physical Education Complex Building will be named after Victor Weber. The family hopes this can be accomplished so the building Vic designed, spent so many hours working in, can be named after him.

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