Bennett C. Weaver, 80, a 49-year resident of Oak Park, died on July 14, 2021, at West Suburban Hospital. Born in Denton, Texas on Nov. 9, 1940, to the late J. Clark and Inez Koegel Weaver, he grew up in Denton and in Gainesville, Florida.
At age 5, he was introduced to the cello at Interlochen Center for the Arts to keep him occupied while his parents were running the summer theater program. By middle school, he was playing in the University of Florida Symphony Orchestra and as a freshman in high school earned the position of first chair of that university orchestra. His talent as a cellist earned him a scholarship to study music at Swarthmore College in Pennsylvania where he studied for a year before returning to Gainesville to study physics at the University of Florida. He continued to play cello at Florida where he met a flutist and hematology major, Donna Harpold.
They were married in Bradenton, Florida in 1964. Their first daughter, Amy, was born in Gainesville in 1966, a few months before moving to Illinois so both of them could work in the lab at St. Mary of Nazareth Hospital on the West Side of Chicago. Their second daughter, Susan, was born in Oak Park in 1970. The couple separated in 1972 and remained very good friends. Donna introduced him to Patricia Funk, with whom he had a 20-year relationship until she passed away in 2003.
In the late ’60s, he secured a position at CNA Insurance in the actuarial department. He wrote computer programs to set reserves at CNA and in the late ’70s moved over to Harris Bank as an analyst, where he worked until retiring in 2001. In retirement, he was a paid computer consultant and helped continue his father’s work on the Weaver family genealogical history.
In the early 1980s, he purchased an IBM PC for use at home and over the next four decades built and upgraded his own and hundreds of computers for others. In 1983 was a founding member of the Association of Personal Computer Users (APCU), one of the oldest general computer groups in America. He was also a member of the Chicago Area Database Users Group (CADBUG) and held various leadership roles in both. In recent years he often facilitated “Random Access,” a question-and-answer discussion at monthly APCU meetings.
He enjoyed sharing this knowledge and had a way of explaining complex concepts using simple analogies or technical terms depending on the audience. His daughter Susan remarked, “I know why the sky is blue, why scuba divers go backward into the water over the side of the boat, and why phases of the moon and lunar eclipses happen because my dad knew and had the patience to explain.”
He was always finding ways to help friends, family, and strangers alike, from serving several years as ‘Cookie Mom’ for both his daughter’s Girl Scout troops to helping countless stranded motorists jump-start their car. He was shot three times on the West Side of Chicago after walking a co-worker home after a late office function and that didn’t stop him. He was a true Renaissance man with carpentry, electric, plumbing, and all-around fix-it skills as well. He helped and advised family and friends, with all kinds of household projects up until recent months.
His friendship with Cheryl McNamara began when he reached out with helpful information after her husband passed. He was helpful and supportive and the two eventually came to enjoy a close relationship over the last 13 years.
His dry sense of humor, quick wit, kindness, and vast knowledge will be greatly missed.
He is survived by his companion Cheryl McNamara; his friend and former wife, Donna Weaver; and his daughters, Amy Weaver and Susan (Russ) Northrup.
A memorial visitation will be held Thursday, July 22 from 4 to 7 p.m. at Drechsler, Brown & Williams Funeral Home, 203 S. Marion St., Oak Park.
In lieu of flowers, donations to the Alzheimer’s Association (alz.org) are appreciated.