A Tribute to Colleague Liz Wernig

Liz Wernig was the kind of colleague who asked nothing from you, but was always willing to help you in any way she could. She was quiet, she was kind, and she was very good with technology and teaching others how to use it effectively.

I asked for her help in my early days with 3D printing, before I found a way to design for 3D printing using iPads. In January 2014, I asked if I could bring the MiscoeMakerCrew (student group) to her tech lab after school to work with some web-based software (Tinkercad). Not only did she agree, she stayed with us, learning the program herself and helping the kids navigate the controls and manipulate models.

Later that spring we were invited to share our explorations at the Burlington 1:1 Summit. Liz had become a regular member of our group and with her help, we prepared our display materials and rehearsed student presentations. Liz and I drove up to Burlington together while the students rode with parent chaperones. We stayed on, touring classrooms and other displays, after the kids left for the return trip home. When Liz and I eventually left for the day, she suggested we stop for an ice cream – it’s no surprise I was happy to oblige ☺️ The photos below are from our day together in Burlington.

And then Liz got sick again. Early in the fall of 2014, Liz told me she had been diagnosed with returning cancer and would be taking some time off. She has worked so hard to beat it for the two and a half years since. She taught when she could and although the treatments had messed up her feet so she struggled with walking, Liz never showed her discomfort around the students. She was still engaged in teaching and sharing her tremendous knowledge of her subject area, creating interesting projects for her students to learn through. Even though she was not well, she would always help me (and others), finding a spare flash drive, or blank dvd to give me when I forgot to bring one from home. She was always there for me.

I visited her at home when the timing was right between treatments. We strolled around her gardens and fairy village, or sipped wine in her “woman cave”. And speaking of wine, as I left one time she gave me a bottle of wine that she had received, because it had a peacock on the label and she knew we had peacocks at home. She was always thoughtful.

She grew animated when talking about her family. She adored her grandchildren and was so incredibly proud of their athletic feats and other accomplishments. She loved her children and the time they spent together. When her daughter Holly married in Boston one New Year’s Eve, it was her single-most focus for the entire winter, whether planning or reveling in the memories (this after an autumn focused on The Best Halloween Party EVER). And her husband, Jimmy, with whom she feigned frustration and annoyance at his projects and ideas, she truly admired for his handiwork and cleverness. The mention of his name always brought a big smile to her face along with another story to tell.

My wish for Liz’s family is for peace in knowing Liz’s pain is over. No longer will she suffer in quiet dignity. She is walking on clouds right now, alongside her daughter Alyssa, probably raising hell while the wine flows.

She was fun. She was smart. She was a love. She was a good friend. She will be missed. Rest in Peace Liz – Godspeed – until we meet again.

At the Burlington 1:1 Summit 2014
At the Burlington 1:1 Summit 2014
Leaving for the Burlington 1:1 Summit 2014

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