F. Sheldon Wettack
The family of F. Sheldon Wettack,
who died on Thursday, Feb. 25, 2021. He
was 82. His time as a chemistry faculty
member at Hope ran across seven decades,
initially as a professor and later dean from
1967 to 1982, and since 2004 as a visiting
professor. In between, his career included
serving as dean of arts and sciences at the
University of Richmond in Virginia; president
of Wabash College in Crawfordsville, Indiana;
and vice president and dean of faculty at Harvey
Mudd College in Claremont, California. (While
at Harvey Mudd he was also an adjunct member
of Hope’s chemistry faculty from 1995 to 2003.)
Survivors include his wife of 65 years, Marilyn
Wettack; sisters, Betsy White and Barb (Mike)
Estrada; children Kathy Wettack ’78 (Jim ’81)
Hodge, Pam Wettack ’81 (Burt ’81) Leland, Deb
Wettack ’84 (Dean ’84) Welsch and David (Amy)
Wettack; eight grandchildren; and six greatgrandchildren.
Dr. Sheldon Wettack, 82, of Holland, MI passed away on February 25, 2021 following a short illness and surrounded by the love of his family.
Sheldon Wettack was born on December 5, 1938 in Coffeyville, KS to Frank Sheldon Wettack II and Elizabeth (Gardner) Wettack. Having been raised in a military family, his formative years included living in Japan. The family then settled in Manteca, CA where Sheldon attended high school. It was there that he met the love of his life and future bride, Marilyn Jones. He attended San Jose State College where he received his undergraduate degree and his master’s degree in Chemistry. He taught High School chemistry before he and Marilyn moved their young family to Austin, TX where Sheldon would earn his PhD in Chemistry.
In 1967, Sheldon and his family moved to Holland, MI where he began his lifelong career in higher education at Hope College, initially as a professor and undergraduate research mentor and subsequently as Dean of the Natural Sciences. His passion for higher education led him to administrative roles at the University of Richmond (Dean of Arts & Sciences 1982-89), Wabash College (President 1989-93), and to Harvey Mudd College (VP and Dean of Faculty 1993-2004). In his “retirement” he returned to Hope College where he taught chemistry and mentored both faculty and students until his passing.
Sheldon’s joyful and ego-less persona was evident in the love he showed his family, always there with a listening ear and genuine interest in their various activities. He relished his numerous life-long friendships. Sheldon enjoyed traveling, golfing, the opera, being involved in his community, including being a member of the Community Church of Douglas, and his dogs. His infectious curiosity and demeanor drew people in, he genuinely enjoyed learning from others’ experiences.
Sheldon is survived by Marilyn (Jones) Wettack, his loving wife of 65 years (Holland, MI); his sisters Betsy White and Barb (Mike) Estrada of California; his children Kathy (Jim) Hodge of Grand Rapids, Michigan; Pam (Burt) Leland of Santa Fe, New Mexico; Deb (Dean) Welsch of Michigan and David (Amy) Wettack of Weber City, Virginia; his eight grandchildren Jennifer, Megan, Bryan, Laura, Aaron, Lauren, Josh, and Abby; his six great grandchildren and his devoted dog Holly. He was preceded in death by his parents, brother-in-law Larry White and grandson Clayton.