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January 16, 2013

Memorial service scheduled for retired educator

By Maria Allard
C & G Staff Writer

WARREN — The Warren Woods Public Schools family, including alumni and retired personnel, will have the opportunity to pay tribute to a much-loved educator who passed away last month.

A memorial service for former teacher and assistant principal Ralph Weibel will be held Jan. 19 at Warren Woods Middle School, 13400 12 Mile Road at Schoenherr. Doors will open at 12:30 p.m. and the service will start at 1 p.m.

Weibel, a science teacher at the former Warren Woods High School who became assistant principal at Warren Woods Tower High School, passed away Dec. 17 of complications from a blood clot. He was 75.

“He was a wonderful, wonderful man,” said Grace Oberski, who worked as Weibel’s secretary for 15 years at WWTHS. “We all lost a very special man. He touched the hearts of so many of the students.”

The Rev. Duane Novelly, a priest at St. Matthew Catholic Church on Detroit’s East Side, will officiate the service. Novelly is a former student of Weibel’s.

“Something I think important about Ralph was his ability to relate to students,” WWTHS Athletic Director Jan Sander said. “He was genuine and knew when they needed a break, a hug or an ear.”

“Instead of students walking away from him, the students would go up and talk to him,” Oberski said. “He’ll be remembered for a long time. Very few men have an impact on your life like that. Even the students who got in trouble — he always found the time to sit and talk to them.”

When Weibel retired in 1996, it was known he did not want a retirement party. So in lieu of cake and fanfare, a scholarship fund was set up in his name. Sander said scholarship money has been distributed throughout the years to those students who “made a change in their life” for the better.

Weibel also was known as a prankster. Sander said he “always kept everyone laughing and on their toes.”

And golf was his favorite pastime.

“He was an avid golfer,” Sander said.

The sport gave him the opportunity to keep in touch with those he once taught. More than 25 years ago, Weibel, Sander, Oberski and retired athletic director Ron Wilson created the district’s annual alumni golf outing.

Those unable to attend the service but who would like to make a donation to the Ralph Weibel Scholarship Fund can send checks payable to the Warren Woods Educational Foundation to: Nola Hartert, Warren Woods Administration Building, 12900 Frazho, Warren, Mich., 48089. Be sure to specify that it is for the Ralph Weibel Scholarship fund.

You can reach C & G Staff Writer Maria Allard at allard@candgnews.com or at (586)498-1045.