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Werner J. Rothbacher

Werner J. Rothbacher, 83, husband of Betsy (Wyman) Rothbacher, of Beverly Farms, and long time resident of Brunswick, Maine, died Wednesday February 2, 2011 following his extended illness.

He was born on January 21, 1928 in Taxenbach Austria, the eldest son of the late Leopold and Erna Rothbacher.  He grew up in a small mountain village in the Austrian Alps.  Werner was a student at the University of Graz from 1948 – 1952, graduating with a degree in Physical Education and History.  He came to the United States on a Fulbright Scholarship in 1952 and studied at Springfield College, Springfield, MA.  He returned to Austria to teach and continue his education at the University of Vienna where he studied towards his PhD in 1955. 

Werner returned to the United States in 1956 with the Institute of International Education “I had left the old Europe with shameful ease and I had very few moments when I felt sorry for what I had left behind  . . . I was looking ahead into the future with not a trace of fear . . . to face the new beginning.”  He was hired as a ski instructor by Sugarloaf, USA in 1957.  He became the Ski School Director at Sugarloaf the following year and spent ten years developing the Austrian inspired “Wedeln” technique of skiing at Sugarloaf, teaching skiing and developing ski instructors to pass along the innovative ski technique.  He coached the Colby College Ski Team while at Sugarloaf.  Werner was a certified US ski instructor, a certified Austrian ski instructor and a Professional Ski Instructor of America member.

Werner became a high school teacher in 1966 teaching German and Physical Education in Maine.  He was a teacher at Brunswick High School for twenty years, teaching German, Physical Education, coaching the Bowdoin College Ski Team and the Brunswick High School swimming teams.  While teaching he continued his skiing career as the Ski School Director at Lost Valley, Auburn, Maine for twenty years.  Werner spent his summers at the waterfront at Camp Chewonki, Wiscasset, Maine where he taught swimming.   After retiring from his teaching career, he worked at Bowdoin College in the Athletic Department.  Werner always found inspiration and empowerment from working with young people and this is why he chose to dedicate his life to teaching.  His other passions included his family, Austria, fishing and camping in Maine and Popham Beach.

In addition to his wife of fifty-two years, he is survived by four children, Heidi Rothbacher Davidson of Eugene, OR, Rainer Wyman Rothbacher of Eugene, OR, Richard Werner Rothbacher of Bartlett, IL and Liesl Rothbacher Hawley of Manchester, and his eleven beautiful grandchildren.  He is also survived by his sister, Traudl Straub, and two brothers, Seighart Rothbacher and Reiner Rothbacher of Zell am See, Austria. 

Funeral services will be private. Arrangements by the Whittier-Porter Funeral Home of Ipswich. Those who wish may make memorial contributions in his name to the Brunswick Area Student Aid Fund, c/o J. Otey Smith, Treasurer, 121 Tondreau Point Road, Harpswell, ME  04079, and, or to the Chewonki Foundation, 485 Chewonki Neck Road, Wiscasset, ME  04578 (www.chewonki.org)

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