John (Jack) Edwin Wetzel 89, University of Illinois Mathematics Professor Emeritus, died on November 29, 2021. There will be no services.
Born in Hammond, Indiana on March 6, 1932, Wetzel was the son of Miles Thomas Wetzel, an electrical engineer, and Isabel (Bella) Barnhart Wetzel, an elementary school teacher. He spent his childhood in Goshen, Indiana and graduated from Goshen High School in 1950. He received a BS from Purdue in 1954 and a mathematics PhD from Stanford in 1964. He joined the Department of Mathematics at the University of Illinois in 1961 and retired in May 1999.
His wife, Rebecca Sprunger Wetzel, whom he married on September 8, 1962, survives. Also surviving are a sister, Jane Wetzel Penn Click, a niece, Catherine Penn Williams, a nephew, David Benjamin Penn, all living in Tucson, and a grandniece, Vanessa Alys Penn, of Santa Rosa, California.
After a year in Champaign, the Wetzels made their home in Savoy in 1963. They moved to Urbana in 1969 and then in 1995 to a condo in Champaign. They have no children.
Although his graduate studies were in complex analysis, Wetzel early in his career became interested in problems in elementary and combinatorial geometry. Most of his more than 80 professional publications, many written after his retirement and some with coauthors, dealt with various geometric questions. Wetzel shared with coauthors two Mathematical Association of America awards for expository writing, the Ford Prize in 2005 and the Pólya Prize in 2006.
Memorials may be made to the John E. and Rebecca S. Wetzel Library Endowment Fund at the University of Illinois.