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Ernest W. Weaver Jr. (1921-2018)

Decorated WWII veteran taught engineering, was associate dean at UT

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Ernest W. Weaver, Jr., a mechanical engineer who was a decorated Navy veteran of World War II when he began a 40-year tenure at the University of Toledo, where he taught and served as an associate dean of engineering, died Monday in Hospice of Northwest Ohio, South Detroit Avenue. He was 97.

His heart and other organs had been shutting down, but there was no specific cause of death, his daughter Elizabeth Weaver said.

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Weaver

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“The No. 1 quality about my father, and it was always refreshing, was that he was intellectually curious,” his daughter said.

Mr. Weaver of Ottawa Hills retired in 1986 and was named a professor emeritus. He was a professor of environmental engineering and, for 22 years, an associate dean of the engineering college. He knew how to deal with the variety of personalities on staff, a colleague said.

“As the associate dean, he kind of kept things smoothed out,” said George Murnen, a professor emeritus of civil engineering. “He kept the wheels going.”

The emeritus citation awarded him by UT noted his extensive knowledge in the field. Courses in heat transfer and internal combustion engines led to his “urban vehicle project,” in which students under his watch designed and built an automobile. As energy use and pollution became public concerns, he offered his perspective in talks to community groups. 

“The staff, particularly the secretaries, all called him ‘Energy Ernie,’ because he went around trying to make everything that used energy more efficient in the building,” Mr. Murnen said. 

His emeritus citation noted his work in making contacts among professors and high school teachers, counselors, students, and parents. 

“He felt that engineers were the problem solvers,” his daughter said. “He was always an optimist. He was never in any doubt that if there was a problem, it could be solved.” 

He directed UT’s former junior college and was on the study committee for the community and technical college. In retirement, he became lead design coordinator for the engineering college’s new home, Nitschke Hall.

He was born Feb. 20, 1921, in New York City to Anne and Ernest W. Weaver, Sr. His father was a mechanical engineer with Surface Combustion, and the family relocated to Toledo in 1927. He was a 1939 graduate of DeVilbiss High School and continued to UT, where he and several classmates entered the Navy as soon as they finished final exams —  but before graduation. He served aboard a destroyer in the Pacific Theater, with engagements including battles of the Philippines Sea and Leyte Gulf. He received seven battle stars.

In 1986, UT invited Mr. Weaver and his classmates to take part in commencement, complete with cap and gown. He had a master of mechanical engineering degree from the University of Michigan.

He was a leader in several organizations, professional and civic. He was a former president of the Maumee Valley Historical Society and was a founder of the online historical repository, Toledo’s Attic.

He and the former Alice Ohlinger, who became a UT associate professor of library science, married June 11, 1949. She died Aug. 20, 2002.

Surviving are his daughters Elizabeth Weaver, Constance Weaver, and Caroline Steward, and two grandchildren.

There will be no visitation. Memorial services will be held later, his family said. Arrangements are by Walker Funeral Home.

The family suggests tributes to Hospice of Northwest Ohio, the Maumee Valley Historical Society, the Western Lake Erie Historical Society, Collingwood Presbyterian Church, the Toledo Museum of Art, or a Toledo charity of the donor's choice.

Contact Mark Zaborney at mzaborney@theblade.com or 419-724-6182.

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