Fatal linguistics!-Chicago Tribune


[CJ Hinke comments: Be strong, indeed! In searching the fascinating Chicago Trib archive for dead letters, we discovered this most quirky obituary. We did not personally know of Dr. Strong’s work. And we mean no disrespect to Dr. Strong, his loved ones and descendants. However, there may be a reason they call Latin and Greek dead languages! Certainly this cautionary tale should be taken into serious consideration by all prospectives classics educators and perhaps all high school teachers! Latin is dangerous!]


William B. Strong, 67

Chicago Tribune: July 27, 2004




As a master of languages, William B. Strong was fluent in Spanish, French, German, Italian, Latin and Greek, his brother James said. He was a language teacher for four years at Quigley Preparatory Seminary in Chicago and for several decades at Niles North High School in Skokie. Mr. Strong, 67, died of multiple stab wounds Friday, July 23, in his Evanston home. The Cook County medical examiner’s office ruled his death a homicide. His roommate, Ernst Thomas Wagner, has been charged with murder in connection with his death. Mr. Strong was born and raised in Evanston. He graduated from Evanston Township High School in 1956 and received a bachelor’s degree at Loyola University Chicago in 1960, his brother said. He earned a degree in French at Laval Universities in Canada. At Quigley, he taught Latin and Greek for four years. He taught foreign languages at Niles North for 25 years. After retiring, he was a substitute teacher. Mr. Strong enjoyed the enthusiasm of his students, his brother said. In his home, he left behind exchanges with priests around the country written in Latin, an open Latin dictionary and a massive collection of Greek writings, his brother said. Besides languages, Mr. Strong followed ballet with a passion. He watched the annual International Ballet Competition in Jackson, Miss., and abroad. His friend, Meredith Mahalak, recalled meeting him there and sharing his love of ballet. “Our seats always were front row center,” she said. His friends included many ballet dancers, directors and choreographers. “He was very much in with the movers and shakers in international ballet,” she said. His brother, a reporter for the Tribune for 30 years, said Mr. Strong’s ballet interests once took him to Cuba, where he was interviewed on Cuban radio about American ballet. Besides his brother, he is survived by his sister, Ann E. Strong. Visitation will be held at 10 a.m. Wednesday in St. Nicholas Church, 806 Ridge Ave., Evanston. Mass will be said at 11 a.m.


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