Please visit Bill’s remembrance page on the Carleton Farewells site.
William F. Woehrlin (Bill) age 91, died January 9th, 2020, in Northfield.
A memorial service for Bill Woehrlin will be held at 11 am on Sat., February 15th, at First United Church of Christ, 300 Union St, Northfield. Visitation will precede the service at 10 am and a lunch will follow, both at the church. For those of you who have inquired, gifts in memory of Bill may be given to First United Church of Christ – Northfield, the Cannon Valley Elder Collegium, the MN Historical Society, or the Woehrlin Memorial Fund at Carleton (there is a line to include Bill’s name on this form).
Bill joined the History department faculty in 1962 as a specialist in the history of the Soviet Union. He was a member of the department for thirty-one years (1962-1993). He chaired the History department from 1968 through 1971. He began as an Assistant Professor of History in 1962 and retired as the Laird Bell Professor of History, Emeritus in 1993. He taught courses in Russian, Soviet, and Modern European intellectual and economic history. He was a deeply respected, popular, and caring teacher and colleague, and was a “gracious intellectual,” an eloquent, clear, and careful scholar.
Many considered him the conscience of the college and because of his ethical stance, they elected him as the first faculty chair of the Carleton faculty, 1970-1972. He served on the search committees that brought Presidents Howard Swearer and Robert Edwards to Carleton in 1970 and 1977.
He shared his thoughts about the changes at Carleton from 1962-1993. Intellectually engaged until his last few days, he continued teaching and taking courses in the Cannon Valley Elder Collegium after his retirement. Read his talk, The Snoopy Gang Got It Right.
He and his wife, Molly, were hospitable to everyone: students, faculty, staff, and community members. Older alumni will fondly recall Bill’s annual cider press parties, the origin of our current History department’s annual Fall Apple parties held to welcome new and returning faculty and students. Others will recall when our History department Spring picnics were hosted at Bill and Molly’s Maple Street house in their beautiful gardens and gazebo.
Bill was one our Giants of the Old Guard in the History Department, and it was an honor for all of us to be able to work with him as students, colleagues, and staff. His great warmth, fun-loving spirit, wonderful storytelling, and, as Chaplain Carolyn Fure-Slocum generously shared with us, his impressive two-toned whistling, will be missed very much. Remembering Bill will always bring a smile.