In Memoriam: Western Professor John Wacker

Western Music professor, Dr. John Wacker, was killed in a vehicle crash on Sunday, May 11.

Western Music professor, Dr. John Wacker, died in a vehicle crash on May 11.

The Western State Colorado University community is incredibly saddened by the tragic loss of Dr. John Wacker. John was a mentor, role model and friend to students, faculty and community members throughout the Gunnison Valley. He instilled a love of music and an ethic of hard work in students and friends alike. Our hearts and thoughts are with his family.

Dr. John Peterson, a Computer Science Professor and Wacker’s friend, offered the following tribute:

“John was everything that we faculty aspire to here at Western: a teacher, a mentor, a role model and a friend to every student in the music program. I had the unique experience of interacting with both as a colleague and a student. I returned to music after not having played for many years and he was patient and encouraging as I slowly relearned the instrument I had abandoned so many years ago. He was able to instill a love of music and an ethic of hard work in every member of the band.  His humor, wisdom, life experiences, and knowledge made the band a special place.  He frequently talked about his family and all of us in the band feel like members of it even if we haven’t met the kids, wife, brothers, and everyone else that he so frequently referred to.”

Wacker leaves behind a wife and two children.

Western will work with Wacker’s family to understand how the Western community can help them through this difficult time, and provide updates on this webpage.

Many people have sent us tributes to Wacker.

A memorial service for Wacker took place May 18 at the First Congregational Church in Cheyenne, Wyo.

For more memorials and tributes to Professor John Wacker, please visit the Music Department's memorial page



Tuesday, May 13, 2014 - 9:45am