Dr. Robert Weber

Dr. Robert Charles Weber of Bemidji, MN passed away at home on April 25, 2022 at the age of 73, surrounded by his wife, Nancy, and his three children after recently being diagnosed with esophageal cancer.

Born in West Union, IA on October 11, 1948 to Victor and Elaine Weber (Johnson), Bob was the oldest of three children. His father’s career as a coach and physical education professional shaped Bob’s childhood, and took the family to Illinois and Colorado, before they finally settled in Bemidji, Minnesota, where he graduated from Bemidji High School in 1967.  After graduation, Bob enrolled at the University of Minnesota - Morris, with the intention of pursuing a career in medicine. But having spent his formative years trailing his father at track meets, football games and hockey tournaments, it came as no surprise to his family and friends when Bob decided to transfer to Bemidji State University his third year to complete his Bachelor’s degree in Health and Physical Education.

His father had instilled in him the belief that the lessons learned through athletics - team work, patience, discipline, attention to detail are the habits of mind and body that cultivate success on and off the field, and during his 40 year career as a physical education professional, Bob enjoyed nothing more than nurturing a deep love of sports and recreation among young athletes.

He began his career in 1971 as Director of Recreation and Adult Education for Cass Lake Public Schools, before moving to Mount Pleasant, IA where he was a teacher, coach and Director of Intramural Sports at Iowa Wesleyan College. In 1973, Bob received his Masters degree in Physical Education from Eastern Illinois University in Charleston, and went on to complete his EdD in Adapted Physical Education and Administration from the University of Utah. His teaching career took him to Dakota State University, Southern Illinois University, Eastern Illinois University, Texas Tech University, Bemidji State University, Minot State University, Minnesota State University - Mankato, the University of South Dakota, and most recently the University of Wisconsin- Oshkosh.

Bob’s contributions to the international field of adapted physical education were significant and he took tremendous pride in the numerous awards and accolades he received for this work, including the Adapted Physical Education Council’s Service Award from the American Alliance for Health, the Tommy Wilson Award from the American Alliance for Health, a citation of Meritorious Achievement in Education and Rehabilitation, and inclusion in the prestigious roster of Marquis Who’s Who. Bob loved traveling in the U.S. and abroad to meet with colleagues and attend physical education conferences, and despite his family’s protests, he always insisted on visiting the local university to tour the campus and athletic facilities.

After retiring from full time teaching in 2011, Bob invested in a new set of golf clubs and tried desperately to get his children and their spouses to take up the sport, however their typical lack of enthusiasm didn’t keep him from enjoying time spent walking the fairways at the Bemidji Town & Country Club, where his parents had spent so many years playing golf together. Bob never met a sport he didn’t love, but his devotion to football was unparalleled, and the Vikings were his team. He never missed a game, in good times or in bad, and his desk and the end table next to his favorite recliner remain littered with notebooks full of team and player stats and dog-eared copies of various NFL draft publications. He wasn’t interested in fantasy football, however he took the annual NFL draft extremely seriously.

Like his parents, Bob believed deeply in the importance of community service. In 1987 while working on his EdD, he began volunteering with the Special Olympics and did so throughout his career. During his time in Oshkosh, he established the first collegiate chapter of Fishing Has No Boundaries, a non-profit organization that helps individuals with disabilities enjoy the sport of fishing, and in 2012, he joined the Board of the Paul Bunyan chapter. Most recently Bob served as treasurer of the Bemidji Lions Club after holding various positions throughout his tenure. He was recently awarded the Melvin Jones award which is the highest national honor awarded within Lions for his lifetime contributions to the organization and community.

While his professional and personal accomplishments were many, he will be remembered by his family for his unfailing willingness to show up. He was a man who often struggled to find the right words to express himself, yet he was also a devoted father. Much to his children’s chagrin, he never missed an athletic practice or competition during their teenage years. His cheering was always the loudest in the room and this devotion extended to his grandchildren. He would travel for hours to watch a hockey game or archery tournament, he would spend hours in the car helping drive his grandchildren to Minnesota for their annual summer visit, and he was always prepared with the right gear, be it bicycles, hockey skates or sleds, to support their outdoor adventures. This is how Bob showed his love for his family, and his children and grandchildren will remember him as a consummate cheerleader and their biggest fan.

Bob was preceded in death by his parents, Vic and Elaine Weber, and his brother, Steve.  Bob is survived by his wife of 35 years, Nancy, his sister Diane Norling of Renton, WA, and his children Ryan Weber (Dolores Popescu) of Champlin, MN, Mindy Weber (Lowell McRoberts) of Austin, TX, and Heidi Harris (Michael Harris) of Baltimore, MD. He relished his role as PopPop to Luna Popescu, and Amelia, Louisa, and Simon McRoberts.  A celebration of Bob’s life will take place on Saturday, May 14 at 10:00 am at the First Presbyterian Church in Bemidji, MN. A reception will follow.  Condolences may be left at ceasefuneralhome.com.