Wenche Nilsen ’65 Haverkamp

Wenche Nilsen Haverkamp died on Sunday, July 24, of apparent complications from treatments for non-Hodgkins lymphoma.

She was born on November 7, 1942 in Horten, Norway, the daughter of Murray and Ingrid (Karlsen) Nilsen. At age six, she immigrated with her family to the United States, moving to Jersey City, N.J., where she lived until graduation from Lincoln High School.

Wenche then attended Hope College in Holland, Mich., where she met her future husband Larry and graduated with a major in French. She pursued graduate studies in French at Kent State University in Ohio before she and Larry were married in New Jersey in 1966.

She and Larry settled in Chicago, where they had two children, Heidi Ruth and Jon Peter. She spent her career teaching middle and high school French and language arts, first at Eisenhower High School, and later at the Academy of Our Lady, Alvernia High School and finally at Sacred Heart Schools on Sheridan Road, from which she retired in 2013. While at Sacred Heart, she developed a middle school language arts curriculum built around Greek and Roman classical studies, a project that drew upon her interest in ancient history. After her retirement, she was appointed to the Board of Sacred Heart Schools, serving there the rest of her life.

Wenche was an avid reader, enjoying everything from serious literature to light popular fiction, and was rarely without a book nearby. Among her greatest enjoyments were the family’s annual trips to Grapevine, the cottage on Lake Michigan where they spent several weeks each summer and where she hosted numerous extended family gatherings over the years.

She was a wise and patient soul, a loving spouse, a warm, generous mother, and a doting grandmother to the two grandchildren she was blessed to receive in recent years.

Along with Larry, she was a longtime member of Hyde Park Union Church in Chicago.

She is survived by her husband, Larry Haverkamp ’65; daughter, The Rev. Heidi (Adam Frieberg) Haverkamp, of Chicago; son, Jon (Laurie) Haverkamp, and grandchildren, Harold “Harry” and Giuliana “Gigi,” all of Evanston; brother, Roy (Barbara) Nilsen ’71, of Arlington, TX; her many nieces and nephews; and several brothers- and sisters-in-law.

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