Scott J. Weisbenner, age 49, of Champaign, IL, formerly of Lancaster, WI, passed away peacefully on Thursday, September 29, 2022, after a very courageous battle with cancer over a three-year period. He was surrounded by his family and friends.
Scott was born on January 16, 1973, in Lancaster, WI, the eldest child of Jim and Sharon (Haas) Weisbenner. When he was in kindergarten, Scott’s teacher told his mom that he was “5 going on 25”. This could have not been a more accurate prediction of his future. He graduated as valedictorian from Lancaster High School in 1991, followed by a B.A. in economics and mathematics from the University of Wisconsin-Madison in 1995. He then graduated with a Ph.D. from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) in 1999.
Scott first worked as an economist for the Federal Reserve Board of Governors and once presented his research in front of Alan Greenspan. He wanted to return, though, to his midwestern roots, so in 2000, he began his career as a finance professor at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. He was there until his passing and was planning on teaching this fall until his health did not allow him to do so. He also served as an elected member of the board of trustees for SURS (State Universities Retirement System) for the state of Illinois.
The university’s Gies College of Business posted this on their site upon Scott’s passing: “Scott was the exemplar of the all-around faculty star. As a teacher, Scott consistently earned the love and respect of his students, including undergraduates, graduates, and our iDegree students. As a researcher, he was immensely talented, consistently publishing creative and rigorous papers in the very best economics and finance journals. As a member of our Gies family, he was frequently elected to department and college executive committees and was always willing to serve on or chair committees. As a mentor to junior faculty and PhD students, he was kind, patient, helpful, gracious, and willing to share credit.”
In 2010, Scott married the love of his life, Jia Xing, whom he met when she was his interpreter for a college session he presented to Chinese bankers. They had two sons, Luke and Jay, who were his pride and joy and they affectionally called him Baba (Chinese word for father). Despite his busy schedule, he still also made trips back home to spend time with his parents and sister. The most favorite part of his life was spending time with all his family.
Scott was always a deep thinker and very knowledgeable in many varied areas. He constantly followed current events and sports, passing his interest in sports onto his boys as they played basketball, tennis, and created their own football plays. His interests also included political memorabilia and historical documentaries. Even as a young boy, Scott valued history as he told his parents when they took him to visit the Madison capitol building that he was so proud to be there. Growing up on a farm, he never lost his deep appreciation for nature as reflected through his photography. One of his most recent hobbies was building LEGO sets with his sons. Scott also loved traveling, having seen over fifty countries and most of the U.S. His last trip was when he took each of his sons on their own trip to favorite Wisconsin spots.
Scott will be extremely missed by his family, friends, and all the lives he has touched through his teaching. He will always be remembered for his humbleness, tender heart, passion for life, and quick wit and sense of humor for which he became renowned during his teaching. He is to be much admired for despite all the obstacles cancer put in his path, he consistently gave life his all. His oncologist said the way he was able to continually forge ahead was a miracle, and he was amazed at how he could research possible cancer treatment options alongside him. He is survived by his wife Jia, sons Luke and Jay, parents Jim and Sharon, sister Kay, in-laws Kai Xing and Lili Wang, and his loyal husky Max.
Private family funeral services will be held on Monday, October 3, 2022, at Martin Schwartz Funeral Homes & Crematory in Lancaster with Pastor Mark Hoehne officiating. Private family burial will be in Hillside Cemetery, Lancaster, WI.