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Tuesday, May 30, 2017


Native Missoulian and retired professor Robert McMaster Weidman died on December 29, 2012 at age 89. Born March 20, 1923 to Robert H. Weidman and Ruth McMaster Weidman, he attended Missoula County Schools until his father was transferred with the Forest Service to Placerville, California in 1938. Bob spent his formative years hiking, skiing, fishing, and enjoying the outdoors--all lifelong pursuits. As a teenager, he also became an Eagle Scout. 

Bob graduated from California Institute of Technology with a degree in Geology in 1944 and worked for two and a half years in seismic oil exploration. He then returned to graduate school and earned his Masters Degree at Indiana University, taught for a year at Fresno State College in 1949, and afterwards completed his Ph.D. at the University of California in Berkeley. While at Berkeley, Bob met Eleanor Ruth Young. They were married on December 28, 1951 and returned to his boyhood home of Missoula in 1953 where Bob began his career as professor of geology at the University of Montana. 

Dr. Weidman was respected for his love of teaching by countless students who passed through his department during his thirty-eight years in that position. His tenure at the U of M included many years as the chairman of the undergraduate advising committee. He also spent many enjoyable Montana summers teaching field geology, first at the Indiana University Geologic Field Station in the Tobacco Root Mountains, and then at the University of Montana Geologic Field Station in Dillon, which he co-founded. 

In Missoula, Bob and Eleanor raised their four daughters to enjoy family outdoor recreation, travel, and the fine arts. Bob spent ten years on the volunteer Ski Patrol at Marshall Ski Area where Eleanor and the girls joined him for many weekends of skiing. The family also enjoyed backpacking, canoeing, and hiking trips throughout the American west. They regularly attended Missoula Civic Symphony concerts, and Bob and Eleanor were members of a small group that co-founded the Unitarian Universalist Fellowship of Missoula. 

After retirement, in addition to outdoor recreation, Bob and Eleanor enjoyed travel abroad both independently and with the Missoula Friendship Force. They participated in eleven outgoing Friendship Force exchanges and Bob was the Exchange Director for the 1999 trip to Brazil. Until his health worsened due to Alzheimer's disease, he greatly enjoyed his weekly fellowship and debate with the men at the Missoula Senior Forum. 

Bob will be missed by his daughters and their husbands including Carolyn Weidman-Smith and Ron Smith of San Jose, California; Nancy Weidman and Paul Asper of Littleton, Colorado; Lois and Dean Sirucek of Somers, Montana; and Vicki and Mike Belcher of Belton, Texas. He is also survived by a brother, John C. Weidman of South Lake Tahoe, Calif. and two grandsons and three granddaughters. 

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