Newburyport – He was born in Andover, MA as the first-born child of Harold and Fernande Wennik of Andover. Joe was an altar boy, excellent student, varsity athlete at Phillips Andover Academy and Yale University, from where he graduated with a degree in American Studies. He served in the U.S. States army for 4 years with a subsequent assignment on the German Hungarian Border during the Cold War. He then followed his dream and became an English teacher and coach at Holderness School in Plymouth, New Hampshire. At the same time, he studied for his MA in German Language and Literature at Middlebury College, earned a Fulbright Scholarship to the University of Mainz in Germany, and, eventually, taught German and pursued his PhD in Medieval German at the University of Virginia. In 1967, he joined Phillips Academy in Andover, and for 33 years, he contributed substantially as a teacher, coach, housemaster, administrator. During the eighties, Joe was appointed as athletic director and was responsible for building an environment that was equally supportive of boys and girls in athletics from facilities to coaching to staff development at the time when Phillips Academy went co-ed. He actively furthered better and meaningful relationships with the town through programs like The Andover Summer Soccer Camp together with public and technical school coaches. As educator and College Counselor and Director of Alumni Affairs he encouraged, guided, mentored, inspired and supported students, colleagues and alumni to do their best, seek greater challenges, and succeed. Always, he was guided by his ultimate and most cherished belief: “It’s all about the kids.”
At the same time, he and his wife, Inga Kühn, raised and educated their three sons, centered their personal lives around their families in America and Germany, traveled in the United States and Europe, and, ultimately, settled in the Newburyport, Massachusetts area for their retirement. Here, Joe became involved with leading and supporting adult education programs and teaching within them. As he did throughout his life, he brought knowledge, enthusiasm, expertise, kindness and generosity to these.
Joe is survived by his wife of 62 years, his three sons, Stefan, Marten and Lukas Wennik and his five grandchildren, Zachary, Jakob, Lily, Matthew and Phoebe, a large and loving family in America and Germany, and many devoted friends.
Funeral services will be private, but contributions in his name would be welcome at the Phillips Academy Financial Aid Fund or The Lyceum within the Newburyport Adult Education Program.