Photo courtesy of Peterson-Bassi Chapels - Chicago

George F. Wendt

Oct 3, 1947 - Sep 11, 2021 (Age 73)

Guest Book

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Group of 10 Memorial Trees

Heartfelt condolences go out to George's immediate and extended family. What an amazing person who will be missed! So sorry for your loss. Our thoughts are with you.

Eco-Friendly Memorial Trees

Our memories of sunny days, clear and cool water, fun and lasting friendships while participating in the Riverside Golf Club's winning swim teams will never fade and will always comfort us all. We send our love to George, Annie, Dan, Matt and Kate, the grandkids and George's brothers and sisters. Sincerely, The Pauls: Debbie, Susie, Jimmy, Billy, Gina & Tom.

So very many vivid memories of George and his siblings as we all persevered under Dan O'Briens practices and meets at the RGC "back in the day". Sunday was family day where all the parents rooted during the meets. His Mom, Virginia, pinned all the meet ribbons to her blouse; she had many!. Sunday evenings were also great as we all dined together for dinner.

Warmest heartfelt thoughts for all the Wendts.

My deepest condolences go out to the Wendt family. I can still picture him and the rest of the family poolside at RGC. May the peace which comes from the memories of love shared comfort you now and the days ahead.

An excellent teacher not only of academia but for life choices. George enthusiastically encouraged the pursuit of open water swimming which was the best advice I ever received.

Condolences to the Wendt family on the sudden and unexpected passing of George, a Renaissance man to be sure. I will remember him and say his name. May happy memories leaven your grief; and may you find some solace in knowing that his passage came while he was doing something that he knew well and loved.

George and I were in many classes together at Fenwick. Athough I never got to know him well, and I hadn't seen him since 1965, I vividly recall what a gentleman he was--a really good guy.


George's Obituary

George Frederick Wendt, PhD of River Forest, IL died 9/11/2021 at the age of 73

George was raised in River Forest, attended St. Vincent Ferrer Grade School, Fenwick High School, University of Minnesota, and earned both Master and Doctorate degrees from Loyola University Chicago.   He taught English and was the Department Chair at Fenwick High School. His impact on Fenwick was recognized in 2013 when he was inducted into the Fenwick Hall of Fame.  He was also a professor at Illinois Benedictine College where he taught English and Communications. 

His mother Virginia asked that George represent the family in her father’s 1908 established Chicago Metal Manufacturing which led to his creation of a spinoff-company called Chicago Metal Rolled Products. He became President of CMRP in 1984 and in the years that followed,  grew it into an industry world leader.  George applied new processes, such as Japanese “Lean Manufacturing”, and large beam rolling, at Chicago Metal Rolled Products.  To become a leader in bending he joined with other manufacturers to form the “Bender Roller” Committee as a branch of the American Institute of Steel Construction. His enthusiasm for working with artists and architects big and small won CMRP the contract for fabrication of the curved tubing used in the Trellis over Pritzker Pavilion at Millennium Park.

George was truly hands-on in everything he loved from Japanese-style garden to teaching . He was a devoted husband to Anne, adoring and cherishing her through 52 years of marriage. A model father, always deeply involved in supporting his three children: Matthew, Daniel and Katherine. A loving grandfather to Tyler, Bailey, Emma, Noah, Alexander, Kylie, Abigail, Sophie and Wyatt, George took pleasure in sparking their intellectual curiosity. He also inspired in his family a deep love for the pool, having been a life-long swimmer.  

A relentless advocate for swimming,  George swam from age group to Fenwick High School to Olympic Trials to All American honors at University of Minnesota.  George set Masters National and World Records in the 400IM, 1650yd, and 1500m. These were just a small result of his love for the sport; what he really loved was fostering relationships with his teammates and fellow swimmers.  Always humble, his true enthusiasm was encouraging his teammates and making every swimmer regardless of ability feel welcome in the lane.

The Big Shoulders 5k swim in Lake Michigan was his favorite event and he looked forward to it every year. George was instrumental in creating the race, taking deep commitment in his own training, tapering, and planning.   A distance-event specialist, George was  built for this event and never let the waves or frigid temps of the lake stop him from participating since the event’s inception.  In both 1993, and 1995, when he was 45 and 47 years old, George was the overall winner in the event. 

Always devoted to physical and mental preparedness, George was in peak condition for this year’s race. At the 2k mark of the 5k race, George was found unresponsive, and despite the best efforts by medical teams, they were unable to bring him back to us.  


It’s impossible to capture all the kindness and joy that George spread, but friends across the world have shared some moving memories. Please see attached links and feel free to  share more  memories on this message board.

George F. Wendt, 73, swimmer who shared a name with his TV star cousin, drowns in Chicago’s Big Shoulders race - Chicago Sun-Times (

A family-man who invested much time, love, and caring for his family, he is survived by his wife Anne, three children and nine grandchildren.

  • Visitation—Sunday, Sept. 19h 11:00 a.m. – 5:00 p.m. at Peterson-Bassi Chapel, 6938 W. North Avenue, Chicago, IL 60707


  • Funeral Mass, St. Vincent-Ferrer, Monday, September 20th, 2:00 p.m. 1530 Jackson Ave. River Forest, IL 60305. Family and Friends are to meet at church


  • Celebration of Life for Swimming Friends---Sunday Oct. 3rd – at Promontory Point. Details to follow at


In Lieu of Flowers, Donations can be made to the following:

In recognition of George’s love of nature and Japanese style gardening, consider a donation to Anderson Gardens through the following link:

Please note that the donation is made in memory of George Wendt.


In recognition of George’s commitment to both academic strength and athletic achievement, please consider a donation to the university of Illinois at Chicago’s Men’s and Women’s Swimming and Diving Teams through the following link:  Please ensure that you identify the donation to either or both of the Men’s and Women’s Swimming and Diving Teams, and please note that the donation is made in Tribute to George F. Wendt.

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