Cover photo for William "Bill" Robertz's Obituary
William "Bill" Robertz Profile Photo
1929 William 2019

William "Bill" Robertz

October 3, 1929 — October 15, 2019

William “Bill” Robertz died at home on Tuesday, October 15, 2019. Funeral Service will be held at Trinity Lutheran Church, St. Peter on Saturday, October 19 at 3:30 PM with a visitation starting at 3 PM. St. Peter Funeral Home is assisting the family with arrangements.

Bill was born on October 3, 1929 in Duluth, Minnesota, to Swedish immigrants Robert and Erna Robertz. In high school, he played violin in the Duluth Junior Symphony, became an Eagle Scout, debated on the state championship team, won the state oratory contest and graduated at the top of his class. He graduated magna cum laude from Gustavus Adolphus College in 1951 and earned his M.A. in 1953 and Ph.D. in 1960, both from University of Illinois. He married Marilyn Barnes of St. Peter, a Gustavus classmate, in 1953. After teaching Speech and Communications at University of Illinois and Michigan State University, he accepted a teaching position at Gustavus Adolphus College, which he kept for 38 years. He enjoyed teaching classical rhetoric, argumentation, speech criticism, and coaching debate, but also spent much time as Faculty Parliamentarian, chair of the Faculty Senate and other duties. He participated in the Pi Kappa Delta National Tournament from 1949 to 1999 as student, coach, governor, or judge. Some of his favorite years at Gustavus included teaching in Washington, D.C., Boston, or Mora, Sweden.  After retirement in 1995 he continued judging speech tournaments and traveling. He enjoyed his active “geezer” membership with fellow retired professors.

Bill’s considered his family life even more important than his academic and professional life. He took his immediate family on camping trips across most of the U.S. and Canada, and to visit his relatives in Sweden.  He took them fishing “up North” for a week or two every summer.  He was a fan of orchestral music, Wall Street Week, Twins, Vikings, and counter-intuitive logic.

Bill was preceded in death by his parents and his brothers, Gunnar and Henry.

He will be fondly remembered by his wife of 66 years, Marilyn; his two children, Paul (Jennifer), Ruth (Noah); five grandchildren, Ben (Briana), Melissa, Larry, Breanna, Jaeden; brother-in-law, Keith (Sharon); and many nieces, nephews, former students, and colleagues.

Memorials may be made to Gustavus Adolphus College Bill and Marilyn Robertz Communications Studies Fund, Woodlawn Cemetery Association, or to the Trinity Lutheran Church Bill and Marilyn Robertz Endowment.       

To order memorial trees or send flowers to the family in memory of William "Bill" Robertz, please visit our flower store.

Service Schedule

Past Services


Saturday, October 19, 2019

3:00 - 3:30 pm (Central time)

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Memorial Service

Saturday, October 19, 2019

Starts at 3:30 pm (Central time)

Enter your phone number above to have directions sent via text. Standard text messaging rates apply.


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