OBITUARY

Walter J Koetke Jr

October 2, 1939January 25, 2013
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Walter J. Koetke, age 73, of Bloomington, Indiana, died Friday evening at Bloomington Hospital. Born October 2, 1939, in Chicago, Illinois, he was the son of Walter J. Koetke, Sr. and Olive Eleanor (Loach) Koetke. He was a nationally recognized educator and author, and he pioneered the integration of computers into K-12 education. His work was honored by the Distinguished Teacher Award presented by the President’s Commission on Academic Scholars. He earned his Bachelor of Science degree in Mathematics from The Massachusetts Institute of Technology and his Master of Education degree from Harvard University.

He is survived by his loving wife, Carol (Allen) Koetke; three sons, Walter (Cynthia) Koetke III of San Francisco, California, David (Mara) Koetke of New York City, and Daniel (Kim Cantwell) Koetke of Madison, Wisconsin; two brothers, Richard (Jean) Koetke of New Castle, Pennsylvania, and Robert (Michelle) Koetke of Newbury Park, California; and three grandchildren, Michaela, Alexandra, and Sadie. He was preceded in death by his parents.

A memorial service will be held on Thursday, January 31 at 4 P.M. at Day Funeral Home in Bloomington, Indiana. The family will receive friends at the funeral home from 4-6 P.M.

The family suggests memorial contributions be made to the Leukemia & Lymphoma Society.

Services

  • Memorial Gathering Thursday, January 31, 2013
  • Catered Reception Thursday, January 31, 2013
REMEMBERING

Walter J Koetke Jr

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Scott Thyng

March 27, 2016

Mr. Koetke was an inspiring math teacher at Lexington High School, Lexington MA, during my junior year of 1966-67,,, and a wonderful person as well that I recall. This is very sad to hear even years after his unfortunate passing. No one could seek more than such good feelings from his past students.

Richard Devir

June 4, 2013

I'm so sorry to hear of Walter Koetke's passing. Walter was the person who revealed to me the possibilities of educational technology. At his two-week summer workshop in 1980 he taught a group of teachers BASIC computer programming and introduced us to educational software. All through the course he eschewed jargon and left us with not only a strong foundation in programming but also a lasting lesson: it is possible to discuss technology and still use the English language.

Walter served as head of technology services for our district, so once the workshop ended he was available to answer questions and give encouragement. A good number of my students, I believe, will always remember his excellent "Survival Math" educational software series that promoted abstract thinking in addition to bolstering mathematical knowledge. Walter was an educational visionary as well. Addressing a group of educators just after the now famous "Nation at Risk" report was issued, Walter imparted to us that sense of urgency that has since fueled the educational reform movement. I will miss him.

Scott Welsch

February 8, 2013

I am so grateful that I knew Walter Koetke and so sad to hear that he has died. He was a great person in a family of great people. He was one of the kindest and most generous people I have ever met.

Vincent Tomecek

February 6, 2013

Undoubtedly, Walter was a visionary. I was lucky enough to be part of the MSTC program from '90 - '94 and remember the first paper we had to write regarded whether a clone of a person had a soul. Right then, I knew the program was going to be a challenge. Even to this day, I don't believe other leading educators have caught up to the advances made by Walter Koetke.

I describe my high school experiences to other people and they are floored at the opportunities we had including:
- 0 hour (1 extra class)
- The ability to CREATE whatever class you wanted next year (e.g. Marine Biology for me)
- A senior seminar that "filled in the gaps" and made sure you left the program with the well rounded knowledge expected of every graduate
- Biofeedback machines, chemistry equipment, and a computer lab that put SHAME to my university
- Advanced Software availability (like Mathematica) that was still not fully used in many colleges.
- And yes, lunch time games of Indian Poker in the "lounge"

Walter also had the uncanny ability to attract the best of the best teachers. He also was able to raise money both through donations and from helping many student excel to National Merit scholars winning money and equipment for both the student and the school. Walter created an educational framework that could do nothing BUT succeed.

I feel deeply saddened by the loss of Walter and only kick myself for not tracking him down sooner considering how many times I think about his program. Condolences to Walter's family.

Michelle Sarma-Chui

February 5, 2013

Our thoughts are with you in this time of loss. Mr. Koetke was not only a great educator, but a wonderful human being who touched so many of our lives in profound ways. Those of us who knew him at PLD will remember him for his signature socks and Birkenstocks (even in the middle of winter!); for those groggiest of zero hours, so early I once showed up wearing mismatched shoes; for asking thought provoking questions like, "Where is Sarah's mother?"; for encouraging us all to strive. Thank you for gifting us with your time on this earth, Mr. Koetke. You will be missed.

Will and Kristen (Zimmerman) Maxson

February 4, 2013

Our sincerest condolences. We both graduated from the MSTC program in 1996 and believe that what Mr. Koetke created there was ahead of it's time for the field of education. We can only imagine that he touched and changed the lives of many people.
With sympathy and warmth,

February 2, 2013

Am so very sorry to hear of Walter's passing. I worked with Walter at BOCES in Yorktown Heights many years ago. He used to bring one of his sons in with him sometimes I remember, possibly Walter. He was a brilliant man and very likeable always trying to help us novices at the time. RIP Walter.

Dolores Androsko

February 1, 2013

I had the great privilege to work with Walter in the MSTC Program which he had established. He was truly a great educator and visionary. He brought many unique and inspiring challenges to our students. He made a great difference in many lives of our students here in Lexington He made many opportunities for them that they may not have had without his training and guidance..
I send my sincere condolences to his family. He was truly a very great person.


Sincerely,
Elizabeth Kikuchi

Joseph Wu

February 1, 2013

My deepest condolences to the Koetke family. I am very saddened by this news. It was a great privilege to be selected by Mr. Koetke in the first Dunbar MSTC class in 1990 and a life changing experience for which I am forever indebted. I have fond memories of pre-Calculus and Calculus class at 6:45 in the awesome MSTC lounge. Although I had to move away from Lexington between 10th and 11th grade, I have carried the lessons I learned from Mr. Koetke with me into a career in medicine and have thought about him often. Godspeed, and may you rest in eternal peace, Mr. Koetke!

Rebecca Hartman-Baker

February 1, 2013

I am so sorry for your loss, Koetke family. I have many memories of a man who challenged me to do my best, to not give up when the going got hard, and who made me aware of the existence of my current field, computational science. I was a member of the first MSTC class at PLD, and I went on to earn a Ph.D. in computer science and work as a computational scientist first at Oak Ridge National Laboratory in Tennessee and now at another supercomputing center in Australia. I owe much of my success to the foundations laid by Mr. Koetke.