Cover photo for Hugh R. Wesler's Obituary
Hugh R. Wesler Profile Photo
1947 Hugh 2022

Hugh R. Wesler

March 23, 1947 — September 18, 2022

Poland

Poland - Hugh Robert Wesler, 75, died Sunday, September 18, 2022 at Park Vista Retirement Community, surrounded by the love of his family.

Hugh, affectionately known by many as "Huff," was born March 23, 1947 in Milwaukee, Wisconsin, son of the late George and Lois Graf Wesler.

As a young child, his family relocated to Arlington Heights, IL. Hugh’s college years led him to the University of Wisconsin where he earned his Bachelor's Degree in Chemical Engineering in 1970. After working for Universal Oil Products as a Research and Development Engineer for four years, Hugh returned to the University of Wisconsin for a graduate degree in fine art. There, he focused his studies on woodworking and glassblowing and found time to learn to cook, a hobby he enjoyed the rest of his life, often with a French flair.

Frequently finding his chemical engineering background of use in the arts, Hugh was asked to assist a metalsmithing student to titrate a copper plating bath, which led to meeting his future wife, Anita Wiedenhoeft. They were married in 1977. In 1978, he received his Master of Fine Arts Degree and taught at UW for the next two years while exhibiting sculpture and woodworking nationally.

In 1980, Hugh accepted an Engineering Manager position with Standex International, and Hugh and Anita moved to Springfield, Massachusetts. The company was looking for a person with a background in both chemical engineering and furniture design. Hugh joked that he might be the only person in the country with both qualifications. While redesigning the manufacturing lines at the plant, he modernized their practices to prevent tens of thousands of pounds of pollutants from going into the air or water.

In the evenings, Hugh continued to return to wood, creating fun and light-hearted artwork for family and friends. As his children Griffin and Nina grew, he delighted them with handmade toys and furniture that encouraged their imaginations to run free. His humor can be found in a myriad of whimsical works–from cabinets in the shape of kimonos and giant safety razors to armchairs built from lathe-turned wooden tubes. One of his most notable pieces, with over 2,000 hours in the making, is a three-quarter-size vintage tanker truck tool box, completely carved in wood from wheels to running board.

Hugh's final move in his engineering career led him to Youngstown, Ohio, where he worked as the Director of Coating Development for Standex International/Moldtech, retiring in 1999.

Cherishing Hugh’s memory are his former wife and best friend, Anita Wesler; children, Nina Wesler and Griffin Wesler; daughter-in-law, Amy Barnhart; and grandson, Leo, all of Seattle, WA.

A Celebration of Life honoring Hugh will be forthcoming in Madison, Wisconsin and announced in the spring of 2023.

Arrangements were handled by Davidson-Becker Funeral Home. Please visit www.beckerobits.com to send shared memories and condolences with the family.


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