Wayne E. Lucht, PhD., 94, of Oak Park, died on April 6, 2020. Born on Dec. 13, 1925, Dr. Lucht was Professor Emeritus of psychology at Concordia University, Chicago where he taught for over 32 years. A graduate of Concordia High School he received his undergraduate degree in education from Concordia Teachers College, River Forest in 1948, where he was class president and editor of The Spectator, the student newspaper.
He earned his master’s in education in 1960 from Southern Methodist University in Dallas, Texas and his doctorate in psychology from the University of Iowa in 1963.
During the Second World War, Wayne was thrust into early “supply teaching” positions even before his graduation. After fulfilling his student teaching requirement at Grace Lutheran School in River Forest under the late Carl Halter, he took a position at a small Lutheran School in Hayward, California, boarding with the pastor and his wife there.
He went on to become the sole teacher in a small one-room rural school in Wentzville, Missouri where he taught grades 1-6.
In 1948, the congregation of Zion Lutheran Church in Dallas decided to found the first Lutheran elementary school in that city. Looking for a talented educator to take the position of teacher and principal and to start the school there, the church members reached out to Carl Halter, who recommended Lucht.
The next year he married Phyllis Gieschen, whom he had met at Concordia. She joined him in Dallas where they began their family of five. They moved to Iowa City, Iowa in 1961 to pursue his doctorate. Despite offers at Emory University in Atlanta and the University of California Berkeley, he followed the call to his alma mater in River Forest as associate professor in Educational Psychology.
The family settled in Oak Park in 1963 and quickly became part of the Concordia and Grace Lutheran Church and School family. He took various leadership roles at Concordia, including a stint as Dean of Men. But his focus was always on teaching. Loved by his students, his greatest joy was in the classroom with them.
After retirement, he became editor of the journal Lutheran Education for over a decade. In earlier years, he had served as church organist for the small congregation of First St. John’s in Chicago. Feeling the growing need to serve that community, he and Phyllis joined the congregation of St. Paul, Austin in Chicago and became loved and loyal members there, where he served as organist and she led Bible study. In their final years following retirement, they returned to their church home at Grace Lutheran, River Forest.
His steadfastness, integrity and kindness were reflected throughout his life. He generously shared his faith with all. As a father and as a friend, he encouraged self-confidence to celebrate life’s unique gifts in all who knew him, demonstrating how to be a non-judging observer. They provided, not only for their children, but for all who dropped by, a home that was safe, relaxed and engaging, a place where each was allowed to be the best versions of themselves. His was a life well lived.
Wayne Lucht was the husband of the late Phyllis (nee Gieschen); the father of Mark, Peter, David (Stefanie Graves), Kathryn, and Andrea Lucht (Ralph) DiFebo; grandfather of Lela (Erik Kjell) and Jonah (Jennah) Lucht; great-grandfather of Canyon, Huck and Liam Lucht and Livia Kjell; brother of the late Melvin (Ruth) and Wilbert Lucht; brother-in-law of John (the late Sue) and the late Thomas (the late Roselyn) Gieschen; and uncle and great-uncle of many.
A memorial service will be planned for a later date.
Memorial gifts in Wayne’s honor may be directed to: Grace Lutheran Church http://www.graceriverforest.org or St. Paul Austin Lutheran Church https://www.stpaulaustin.com.
Arrangements were handled by Drechsler, Brown & Williams Funeral Home.