JOHN M. WEDEMEYER Jr.
WEDEMEYER Jr., JOHN M. August 1945 to February 2010 John M. Wedemeyer, Jr., died at home in San Diego on February 17, 2010, with his family at his side, following a three-year battle with cancer. He was a visionary leader in the design and implementation of innovative human service programs in San Diego, achieving significant policy advocacy accomplishments at the local, State, and federal levels. He grew up in Sacramento where he graduated from Encina High School. His father, Jack Wedemeyer, was the Director of the California State Department of Social Welfare. John received his Bachelor's degree at UC Davis and his Master of Social Work degree at San Diego State University. He began his career as a Child Protective Services Worker with San Diego County, where he was the organizer of the San Diego County Foster Parents organization. In the 1970s he was the founding director of San Diego Youth Services, and a co-founder of Community Congress of San Diego. He was the main visionary and leader in local advocacy work with the City of San Diego, the County of San Diego, and United Way, which resulted in a nationally recognized human services contracting system that continues to this day. San Diego Youth Services' first project was a runaway center - one of the first and most successful in the nation. While at SDYS he served as a field instructor for the SDSU School of Social Work, and in 1974, he received SDSU's Distinguished Alumni Award. Mr. Wedemeyer testified regarding the need for services for runaways at a U.S. Senate Subcommittee in 1972; his expertise and that of his advocacy colleagues were extensively used in the drafting of the 1974 Runaway Youth Act. Today, federal funding under this law is still being allocated to serve youth, particularly homeless youth. In 1976, he became the founding Chair of the National Network for Runaway and Youth Services. After directing a youth counseling program in Santa Cruz, he returned to San Diego, and in 1985 became the Director of the June Burnett Institute for Children, Youth, and Families in the SDSU Research Foundation. While there, he managed and led over 15 projects funded by federal, State, County, and foundation sources. Many of the projects involved collaborations with local schools, particularly by increasing the involvement of parents from low-income and predominantly immigrant neighborhoods. He secured funding for a number of interdisciplinary projects involving community-based organizations, schools, and County agencies. He established an SDSU Faculty Fellows program, in which faculty worked with the practice community on projects, resulting in a number of professional journal publications. He was twice recognized by SDSU as a top-performing principal investigator, and after retirement in 2009 he became an adjunct faculty member in the School of Social Work at SDSU. Over his career, he served as the chair of 15 advocacy organizations, task forces, and advisory groups at the national, state, and local levels. In 2009, he received a Lifetime Achievement Award from the local chapter of the National Association of Social Workers. Recently, the Board Room at San Diego Youth Services was named in his honor. This week, John was recognized by the California Social Welfare Archives, and selected to join the California Social Work Hall of Distinction. He was an active member of St. Luke's Episcopal Church in North Park, serving on the Vestry and on St. Luke's Refugee Network Board. He was an artist and former student of painter Roland Peterson. He was also a pianist who loved Chopin and Scott Joplin. John is survived and loved dearly by his wife of 40 years, Marianne, his daughter Anne of San Diego, his mother Helen, sister Karen, and niece Kandy of San Jose. A memorial service will be held Friday, February 26th, at 3:00 p.m. at Saint Luke's Episcopal Church, 3725 30th Street, San Diego, CA 92104. In lieu of flowers, the family suggests donations to either San Diego Youth Services (3255 Wing Street, San Diego, CA 92110, 619-221-8600), or Saint Luke's Refugee Network (4305 University Avenue, San Diego, CA 92105, 619-283-1337).

Published by San Diego Union-Tribune on Feb. 24, 2010.
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11 Entries
I was deeply saddened to hear of John's passing today. I worked with John at the June Burnett Institute. When I first came to the Institute, I was a young professional, and petrified of John. As time passed I learned so much from him. I came to understand and know him as a brilliant man, a compassionate heart, and a generous spirit. May he rest in peace knowing he touched the lives of many through his works, and ignited the spirit of service in others through his example. My condolences to his family.
Kim Brannon
March 17, 2010
I happened to be in San Diego and was attending church at St. Andrew's in Encinitas. An announcement was made about John's death. I was shocked and stunned. Marianne and Anne, you both have my deepest sympathy.

John was a great guy. He and I didn't always see eye-to-eye on things political, but I always respected his opinion and enjoyed his company. Larry and I considered him one of the best parts of St. Luke's. We served together on the calling committee that brought Father David to St. Luke's. That was when I really got to know John. Those were good days. God bless you and keep you. Maybe John and Larry will run into one another in heaven and relive old times.
Nan McGonagle
March 1, 2010
I served on the Board of the National Network for Youth in the 1970s with John and knew him when he was Executive Director of San Diego Youth Services. I always loved how he would look at the big picture of youth services and draw all these charts and pictures. He had a great sense of humor and I always remember him commenting that his kids would play "meeting" instead of "house" when they were little. He was a great guy that left his mark on the world.
Sparky Harlan
February 26, 2010
I was saddened to read about John's death. He was a very special human being. My condolences to the family.Art Letter
February 26, 2010
I lived next door to John and his wife for almost six years. He was a great guy and made a great neighbor. He always had time to say hello. We will miss his presence in the neighborhood.
Steve Rosenberg
February 26, 2010
I learned so much from John- as I know many others did. May we all leave this world knowing that we have contributed as much as John Wedemeyer did... I can barely stand thinking about how much more he had to give, but love to think of him smiling down on us from above as he is in this photo.
Robin King
February 25, 2010
John was my boss, mentor, teacher, colleague, and valued friend. For years I have passed on to my Social Work Administration students the practice knowledge and passion for service that I learned from him. His influence and legacy will endure through the work of countless social work administrators and policy advocates. He will be missed and always remembered.
Tom Packard
February 25, 2010
John was a huge gift to the community and the Social Work profession. He worked at all levels of social work to make progress, the individual the organization, the community (building institutions and advocating for changes in laws). He developed creative models to address unserved people and advance the approaches of the profession. He was a mentor where ever he worked and he brought out the best in people, often times helping them realized they were more capable then they had dreamed. He was a good friend and wonderful person. Chip Atkin, Petaluma, CA
Chip Atkin
February 24, 2010
I met John back in his Community Congress days. He was a charismatic and brilliant leader who inspired everyone around him. I was delighted when he became Director of the June Burnett Institute for Children, Youth, and Families at SDSU. John made a lasting impact on the Human Services field and, by doing so, he improved the quality of children's lives. He will be missed.
Dennis Doyle
February 24, 2010
My sincere condolences to the family and friends of John Wedemeyer. He was a true soldier of social work, dedicated, caring, and tireless. His work ethic was beyond imagination. Among his many other accomplishments, he provided leadership to the June Burnette Institute, was instrumental in bringing the Faculty Fellows Program into the Institute, and worked continuously for youth and family. May he rest in peace, knowing that he made a difference in the lives of many and that he will be remembered for his efforts.
Jim Beatty
February 24, 2010
He will be missed. He had a great impact on me as a youth worker and networker. He always, always, made me see the big picture. He continues to be an inspiration.
Nancy Fastenau
February 24, 2010
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