August 30, 2017
5:00 PM - 7:00 PM
August 30, 2017
- 7:00 PM
August 31, 2017
- 10:00 AM
August 31, 2017
9:00 AM - 10:00 AM
Surrounded by family, songs, and prayers, Dr. William J. Weiler (Bill) died peacefully on August 27, 2017, in the Palliative Care Unit at the Veterans Hospital in Fargo, ND. Always the gentleman, Bill waited until he could celebrate his 51st wedding anniversary with his beloved bride, his children, and his grandchildren before making his exit.
Bill was born on April 3, 1930 to Mary Agnes (Brown) and Leo Joseph Weiler in Fargo, ND. He attended St. Mary’s Grade School, graduated from Sacred Heart Academy, and received his BA from St. John’s University in Collegeville, MN. During the summer following his junior year of college, Bill hitchhiked his way across Europe and made enough money selling cigarettes to support his travels. The many stories of his wanderlust ignited a passion for travel and cultural experiences in all of his children. Bill received his Master’s Degree in music in 1952 from Northwestern University after which he served in Military Intelligence with the U.S. Armed Services from 1953-55 in Salzburg, Austria.
Beginning in 1955, Bill began teaching at Shanley High School, served as the Director of Music for the Fargo Diocese, and directed the Schola Cantorum at St. Mary’s Cathedral. He would sing the weekday morning Masses and direct the Sunday High Mass. During this time, he received his PhD at Northwestern University in 1960 and in 1962, Bishop Dworschak invited Bill to be involved with Cardinal Muench Seminary in Fargo. Affectionately known as “Doc Weiler” to the Seminarians, Bill was the Academic Dean, taught philosophy (with an emphasis in aesthetics), and helped develop an inter-disciplinary course for North Dakota State University (NDSU). Bill’s main focus at the seminary was the chorus, sacred music history, and piano fundamentals. Bill was committed to the importance of good liturgies and taught his students the richness of music in the church. Bringing this appreciation out of the seminarians was not always easy. “They say I’m opinionated; and I guess, you know, there’s a certain amount of truth in that. If you’re hired as a professor, I assume you’re supposed to profess something.” Many students have said that he had an enormous impact on the rest of their lives. Seminarian Peter Lund said, “I don’t think any teacher opened me up to so many things as Doc. It was like going from black and white to color.” Bill retired from Cardinal Muench Seminary and NDSU in 2010 at the age of 80 after 55 years of service.
Bill was an active artist in the F-M area and formed The Unicorn Guild in 1960 with Jerry Lamb. The chamber group performed everything from musicals and operettas to dramatic works. In 1964, The Unicorn Guild presented the musical “The Fantasticks” and he started a real-life romance with Mary Josephine LaBore, who played the female lead. Two years after they began to date, Bill and Mary married and eight children (four boys and four girls) followed.
Bill was also an avid gardener and beautified the home he lived in with his family with a large vegetable patch and a wide variety of flowers. He and his family would spend their summers at their cabin on Fox Lake. Bill loved to fish and was always searching for, “that wily bass.”
Bill is survived by his wife, Mary; children David (Paula), Kathleen, Michael (Sara), Daniel (Kilee), Sarah (James), Brenda (Derek), and Mark; grandchildren Jacob, Joshua, Hannah, Emily, Liam, Maya, Ruby, and Fyrn. He was preceded in death by daughter, Jennifer Ann, parents Agnes and Leo, and sister Noella Rae.
There will be a visitation at Boulger Funeral Home, 123 10th Street South, Fargo, Wednesday, August 30, from 5 to 6:45, followed by a prayer service at 7 p.m. A funeral mass is scheduled for Thursday, August 31, at 10 a.m. at the Cathedral of St. Mary, 619 7th Street North, Fargo. Bill will be buried at Holy Cross Cemetery next to his daughter Jennifer. In lieu of flowers, memorials can be made to the Lewy Body Dementia Association, Hospice of the Red River Valley, or the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention.
The Weiler family would like to thank the wonderful caregivers of the Fargo VA and Hospice of the Red River Valley.
As an oblate of the Benedictine order, Bill enjoyed reading the work of Joan Chittister, OSB, and her words remind us of him:
“The function of the artist in the life of us all is to make the transcendent visible; to touch the soul in ways that match the soul; to enshrine beauty so that we may learn to see it; and to make where we live places of wonder.”