Memorial for Professor Emeritus Will Stoecker (1925-2010)


By Linda H. Conway

Wilbert F. Stoecker, 1997
Wilbert F. Stoecker, 1997
Wilbert F. Stoecker, 1997
Memorial to Wilbert F. Stoecker (1925–2010)

Wilbert Frederick Stoecker, professor emeritus of mechanical engineering, died peacefully on September 5, 2010, at age 84.

Born in St. Louis, Mo., on Dec. 15, 1925, Will received his bachelor’s degree from the Missouri School of Mines (1948), his master’s degree in mechanical engineering from the University of Illinois (1951), and his doctorate from Purdue University (1962). He taught for 36 years before retiring in 1984.

During this time, he received numerous awards, including the E.K. Campbell award (1973), the F. Paul Anderson award (1978), and the Richard Kritzer Distinguished Professorship (1989–1992). He was also the author of numerous books, including Refrigera­tion and Air Conditioning (McGraw-Hill, 1983, with Jerold W. Jones) and Industrial Refrigeration Handbook (McGraw-Hill, 1998). He was active in such profes­sional organizations as ASHRAE (Fellow and Life Member), IIAR, and IIR. He lectured internationally and promoted global research into new refrigera­tion systems following the discovery that the common refrigerant Freon was contributing to ozone depletion in the atmosphere.

Above all, Will was a kind and effective mentor to colleagues and students alike. Throughout his career, he led by asking questions, allowing others to think creatively and develop naturally. It was through his guidance, for example, that UIUC’s Air Conditioning and Refrigeration Center was first established in the 1980s as an NSF center and later expanded into what has become an international cooperative research effort, with member companies from the U.S., South America, Europe, and Asia.

Will is survived by his wife, Patricia (Tenting) Stoecker; a son, Paul, of Fort Collins, Colo.; a daughter, Janet Kiener, her husband Steve, and their two children, Annie and Scott, all of Cincinnati, Ohio; and a daughter, Anita Edge, her husband Ben, and their two children, Matthew and Kyle, of Clemson, S.C. Memorials may be made to Grace Lutheran Church, 313 S. Prospect Ave., Champaign, IL 61820-4779, or to the University of Illinois Foundation (Wilbert F. Stoecker Scholarship Fund), 1305 W. Green St., Urbana, IL 68101.