Dr. Harold H. “Fuzzy” Lerch, 85, of rural Ashley, died May 24, 2013, at his residence.
He was born July 27, 1927, in Valmeyer, son of the late Theodore W. and Anna K. Lerch (nee Hess), the third of six children.
He married Margie A. Ferguson in December 1953; she survives.
Dr. Lerch was a U.S. Navy veteran of World War II and the Korean era, serving on escort carriers in the Pacific and Atlantic oceans. He was a lifetime member of the VFW post in Mt. Vernon. He often expressed his appreciation for the G.I. Bill, which supported much of his college and university studies.
Dr. Lerch earned a B.S. in Education (Math) in 1952, and an M.S. in Education (Administration and Counseling) in 1956, from Southern Illinois University Carbondale. Prior to entering the doctoral program at the University of Illinois Champaign-Urbana in 1957, he taught at the Miles Prairie one-room school in Monroe County (1949 to 1950), Valmeyer Community High School (1952 to 1953), Havana Junior High School (1953 to 1954), and Dupo Grade School (1954 to 1957).
He earned his Doctor of Education in 1960, and joined the faculty of SIUC as an assistant professor with a joint appointment in mathematics and elementary education. While at SIUC, he and his family lived for almost two years in South Vietnam (Spring 1961 to Spring 1963) as members of a USOM-SIU contract team to assist the government of South Vietnam in elementary teacher education.
Dr. Lerch joined the faculty of the Department of Elementary Education at the University of Illinois in 1966, as a tenured professor. In addition to teaching courses in elementary mathematics education and practical research procedures, he served for several years as the chairperson of the department, authored several books, published a number of articles in professional journals, co-directed a funded research project, made presentations at state and national conventions, served as a consultant to several school districts, and conducted workshops for many school districts.
He developed his ideas of helping children learn elementary mathematics through the use of physical object models in activities, projects and games by singularly conducting a math lab at Leal School (full day, every day) for six years without reduction of his university responsibilities. He advised and directed the dissertations of numerous successful doctoral candidates.
Dr. Lerch retired as a professor emeritus in 1984, and moved to their acreage in Jefferson and Washington counties. He was extremely fortunate to have as kind, helpful and friendly neighbors Mr. and Mrs. Marvin and Norma Boldt and their sons, Don and Jerry. For these many years, he and his family have enjoyed both the recreation and physical maintenance of the acreage as a wildlife habitat.
Left to mourn his passing are his wife, Margie Lerch of rural Ashley and Thomasboro; a daughter, Kristie A. (Mike) Zeigler, and their sons, Andrew (Erin) and Brian; two sons, Shane A. (Kim) Lerch and their children, Sarah, Ted and Sean, and Barry H. (Donna) Lerch, and their son, Jacob; a brother, Ted W. (Betty) Lerch Jr.; and nieces, nephews, other relatives and friends.
He was preceded in death by his parents, sister Ethel (Bob) Rohlfing; and three brothers, Carlyle, Arlyn “Stumpy” and Robert.
Friends called at the Campagna Funeral Home in Ashley on May 28. Graveside services were held at Brick Cemetery, Ashley. Military graveside rites were accorded by American Legion Post 141.
Should friends desire, memorials can be made to the Ashley Library and will be accepted by the Campagna Funeral Home.