Willard Remmers

Willard “Bill” William Remmers II was born Dec. 28, 1939, in Chicago to Willard William and Mabel Johnine Ray Remmers.

He died June 16, 2013, after a 20-year struggle with prostate cancer. He died peacefully in his home surrounded by his family and friends. He was preceded in death by his mother, Mabel; his father, Willard; and by his stepmother, Margaret G. Remmers. He leaves his wife, Ruth Bernadine Heuertz Remmers, and daughter, Juliet Inez Remmers.

A celebration of Bill’s life will be held at noon Saturday, June 29, at the Lawrence Arts Center, 940 New Hampshire, Lawrence.  

Bill spent his early years in Marion, Kan., with his grandmother, Inez Ellis Ray; his uncle and aunt, Rusty and Mary Longhofer; and in Corona del Mar, Calif., with his uncle and aunt, James and Hazel May Ray. Bill’s mother, Mabel, and Bill moved during his grade school years to Topeka where Mabel became known for her work at the Menninger Foundation and in Topeka Civic Theatre.

He continued his education with a B.S. in mathematics and physics at Washburn University in 1963. Bill earned an M.S. in mathematics at the University of Kansas in 1966 and later a Ph.D. in developmental psychology at KU in 1985.

Bill’s relationship with Ruth, the love of his live, began in 1978. They married Sept. 1, 1990. Their daughter, Juliet, was born Aug. 18, 1991. Bill was a loving husband and took an active role in raising Juliet. He loved listening to his wife sing and play piano and found joy in Juliet’s violin playing and her passion for dance. He often mentioned his extreme good fortune in having a daughter of Juliet’s accomplishments and personality.

He did a variety of work, including research, statistical analysis, modeling, and artificial intelligence for various KU departments including social psychology, biochemistry, and human development. He taught math at Donnelly College in Kansas City and psychology and computer science at KU. He worked as a mathematician on rocket trajectories and laser theory for Aeroneutronics in Newport Beach, Calif., and as a researcher and computer network manager for the U.S. Parole Commission in Washington D.C. He also taught chess, guitar making, astronomy, sailing, telescope making, and ceramics. 

He was passionate about his avocational interests. When he was a boy living in Marion, his grandmother, Inez, nurtured what would become a lifelong interest in astronomy when she gave 8-year-old Bill a college textbook on astronomy, which he memorized. Inez also gave him a subscription to Scientific American, which he continued taking the rest of his life.

Bill affected many people’s lives with his friendship, generosity, analytical skills, inventiveness, and puns. He was a great friend to many and made people feel special because of his genuine interest in their lives.

Bill participated in clinical trials over several years and used his scientific background to actively do laboratory and literary research on prostate cancer in hopes of helping himself and others who suffer from this devastating disease. In Bill’s honor, please support oncology patients in need by giving generously to the Lawrence Memorial Hospital Endowment Association-Oncology Department, 325 Maine St., Lawrence, KS 66044.

Online condolences may be sent at http://rumsey-yost.com.

 

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