William (Bill) Henry Naumann of Pleasant Hill, TN and formerly of Naperville, IL, died August 2nd, 2020. He was born on December 16th, 1930 in Green Springs, Ohio to Mary Knipp Naumann and Lewis H. Naumann. An older sister, Miriam Robbins, died in 1989. His younger sister, Mary Kay (Dave) Fraser, survives him.
Bill was a teacher all his life, helping many young people find their life's calling. He was a skilled listener, stimulating many with probing, thoughtful questions. Everyone who knew Bill has a positive story about him. With degrees from Asbury University (BA), Kent State (MA), Oberlin College (BD), and Yale University (MA & PhD), he taught in the public schools before starting his 30 year career as Professor of Religion at North Central College (NCC) in Naperville, IL. Like his father, grandfather, and great grandfather, he became ordained in the EUB Church (United Methodist Church). Music was an important part of Bill's life, playing cornet, French horn, euphonium, and handbells.
In May 1950, Bill married Marcene Julian of Canton, Ohio. Marcene was a teacher as well, and shared Bill's faith. They raised four children until her untimely death from pancreatic cancer at the age of 37. Following this tragedy, Bill and his four children became part of a larger family when Bill married Herbie (Helen) Gamertsfelder Barrett in August 1968. Herbie heroically left her Registrar's job at the college to become mother to all eight children.
Combining two families created unusual challenges and rewards. Herbie's home on North Wright Street in Naperville was reconfigured to allow each child to have their own bedroom. Dinnertime often resembled a school cafeteria with chief cook, Herbie, cranking out huge meals for hungry athletes.
That first year of marriage took the family to Montreal for Bill's sabbatical study at McGill University and then to Europe and Asia for his research in Islamic studies. Life abroad enabled the family to learn from cultures unlike their own, sensitized them to international relations and produced growing tolerance. As the children grew and sought their own careers and lives in Illinois as well as in far flung states including Hawaii, California, Texas, Michigan, and Vermont, Bill concentrated on his career at North Central College and Herbie returned to NCC as an art instructor. They spent the last 4 years of their careers in Fukuoka, Japan, where Bill taught American and British Studies at Fukuoka Jo Gakuin College and Herbie continued to produce art and work on her already fairly fluent Japanese.
Bill and Herbie retired to The Uplands Village in Pleasant Hill, TN in 2001 where they joined Pleasant Hill Community Church, United Church of Christ. They were active community members and excellent role models living out their values and leading by example. Bill supported peace through protest, gave lectures on world religions and international concerns, and worked to support environmental causes important to their area of Tennessee. It is not just anyone who at 80 years old makes the evening news for activism on the street corners in Nashville.
Bill leaves behind his wife, Herbie, their 8 children Gary (Jan) Barrett, Rex (Kathy) Barrett, Bill (Cheryl) Naumann Jr., Scott (Jan) Barrett, Terry (Ann) Naumann, Teri (Bud) Barrett Carlson, Nancy (Breck) Naumann Hanson, and Jeff (Diane) Naumann, 20 grandchildren, 31 great grandchildren, a sister, 8 nieces and nephews and 17 great nieces and nephews. The family is considering a Zoom funeral service and eventually a post-Covid service in either Pleasant Hill, Naperville, or both. If you would like to remember Bill with a donation, please consider donating to the Naumann-Gamertsfelder Scholarship Fund at North Central College, 30 North Brainard St, Naperville, Illinois, 60540, Pleasant Hill Community Church, United Church of Christ, Pleasant Hill, TN 38578, or to The Uplands Village at Pleasant Hill, TN.
Published in Naperville Sun on Aug. 9, 2020.