Holland Barry & Bennett Funeral Home
Holland Barry & Bennett Funeral Home

Herman Claus Wibben

Herman Claus Wibben, of Emden, Illinois, passed away peacefully at home surrounded by loved ones on June 11, 2024 at the age of 80.
A memorial visitation will be held Friday, June 21, 2024 from 4 to 8 PM at the Emden Community House.

Throughout his life, Herman’s passion was growing things; both kids and plants. His grandchildren and timber were his final canvas and countless hours were spent on both. He worked hard, gave everything, and asked for little. ‘Daylight is burning’ could often be heard before heading out for biscuits and gravy and then getting to work. He strove to never burden anyone and to maintain his independence. In fact, he was still driving his truck and running his chainsaw in his final days. Herman had an entrepreneurial and serving spirit; starting and operating three successful businesses. He enjoyed hunting and teaching others to hunt safely. He treated each child as his own, teaching them to drive the gator, make fires, skip rocks, hunt snipes, and plant trees. His littles could always count on a stick of gum in his glovebox. The way he lived his life and treated others leaves a lasting legacy that will continue for many generations. He was loved fully and will be missed dearly by all who knew and adored him.

Surviving are his wife of 58 loving years, Maureen “Marty” Janice Wibben; three children: Gregory Herman (Dawn) Wibben, Cale David (Sarah Nowlen) Wibben, and Lori Maureen (Cass) Benner; nine grandchildren: Alec Gregory Wibben, Megan Nicole Benner, Jenna Marie Benner, Michelle Lynn Benner, Isabelle Lilly Wibben, Robert Michael Benner, Elias Gregory Wibben, Tyson Antonio Benner, and Amir Treyshawn Lewis Benner; and three siblings: Ruth Ellen (Larry) Reinhart, Duane (Barb) Wibben, and John (Pam) Wibben. He is also survived by countless nieces, nephews, cousins, and friends that he loved and mentored throughout his lifetime.
Herman was preceded in death by his parents, three siblings: Margaret (Robert) Conrady, Nancy (Fred) Ritterbush, Betty Litherland; niece Cathy (Conrady) Richardson; nephew Doug Ritterbush; great-nephew Ross Conrady; and his chosen son Brian Arthur Liechty.

Herman Claus Wibben was born on December 6, 1943, to Claus Albert Wibben and Edith Augusta (Trepel) Wibben at home in Logan County. A 1961 valedictorian of Hartsburg-Emden High School, he went on to graduate with a Bachelor of Science degree in Agricultural Engineering in 1965. While at the University of Illinois, he was an active member of the Phi Kappa Psi fraternity. It was during his time at the U of I that he met the love of his life Maureen “Marty” Janice Hacker. They wed on December 30, 1965 in Lisle, Il.
After graduation, Herman started his career as a Geological Surveyor working for the US Department of the Interior. That career would take them from Champaign, Il (1965) to Pekin, Il (1966) to Nashville, Tn (1970). During this career, Herman enrolled as an Engineer-in-Training in 1968, earned a diploma from the Society of Civil Engineers in 1975, passed the Tennessee State Board of Architecture and Engineering exam to become certified as a professional engineer in 1976, and received a 10-year service award from the US government. He conducted research on flood characteristics and rainfall runoff modeling and authored two publications on those topics that are now housed in the Library of Congress. He also proudly served his country in the Army National Guard and was called to active duty on three occasions.
When his parents, Claus and Edith, retired from farming in 1976, Herman and Marty moved back to Hartsburg, Il with their three children to farm the ground he grew up on. Leveraging his engineering and hydraulic background, his waterways always flowed. Along with his brothers, he was an early adopter of no-till farming. Wibben Detasseling company was established by Herman in 1981 and, over the next 42 years and three generations, it served as a seasonal employer to over 10,000 young people throughout the Logan County area; having a life-long impact on many. He farmed for over 20 years until they moved to Emden, Il in 1998.
Herman came of age during the time that computers were emerging, and they played a significant role throughout his life. Using punch cards to write programs and receive data outputs, he was part of some of the first high-level programming classes at the University of Illinois. He utilized computers extensively during his time with the US Geological Survey. In the late 70s, he was one of the first to have a personal home computer which he leveraged to operate the farm and the Wibben Detasseling by writing his own software. He ran the computer department at General Consulting Services (GCS) for two years in the early 90s. His passion for computers and helping others evolved into establishing Wibben Computer Services (WCS) in 1994. For the next 23 years, WCS was a fixture and friend in downtown Lincoln on the Square providing system design, computer repair, custom programming, server operation, and networking services. Like farming and detasseling, WCS was a family operation as Marty, Lori, and Cass worked alongside him. Several grandchildren were practically raised in that store. He continued to spend time on computers until the very end and was recently working to understand and use generative-AI.
Herman dedicated countless hours to volunteering and serving his community. While in Nashville, he was a charter member of the Percy Priest Lake Jaycees and initiated one of the first JC haunted houses in the country. In 1986-88, he served as chairman of the Logan County Extension Agriculture Council. Throughout the 80s, Herman was the Cub Master for the Boy Scouts of America Pack 127, coached biddy-basketball and t-ball, and tutored many students in math and science. He served as director of the Abraham Lincoln Memorial Hospital board from 1991-1995. Through the late 90s and early 2000s, he was president of the Hartsburg-Emden Alumni Association where he brought the organization into the digital age by creating a database of alumni and addresses that is still used today, was instrumental in moving the banquet to the KCs, and helped establish the Wall of Fame. Herman was a deputy with the Logan County Mounted Police and was a member of the Tremont Sportsman’s Club where he loved spending time with his friends and practicing his marksmanship.
Together with his brother Duane Wibben and son Cale Wibben, Herman purchased 36 acres of ground outside of Burtonview, Il in 2001. Committed to be good environmental stewards, they enrolled their land into a conservation program. This project became his true passion and love. Over the next 23 years, Herman and team planted over 12,000 native trees and bushes to provide food and habitat for wildlife in Logan County. On any given day, you could find him there clearing invasive trees with his chain saw, mowing walking and riding paths so others could enjoy it all, planting, watering, and trimming this year’s new growth, or mapping out and flagging next year’s plantings. He loved creating and nurturing his own plantings from seeds and cuttings. Joining him to work at the creek was the way to spend time with him, learn from him, and show love to him. He cherished every minute of the time spent pouring his heart into the land.

Memorial donations may be made to the Wibben Woods Conservation Fund at the State Bank of Emden (215 Lincoln St, Emden, Il 62635) or Venmo: @WibbenWoodsConservationFund. The funds will help sustain the wildlife ecosystem that Herman established and loved. “The true meaning of life is to plant trees under whose shade you do not expect to sit.”

Condolences may be sent to Marty Wibben at 209 Market St, Emden, Il 62635.

Honorary Pallbearers: Tai Phu, Tony Ingram, Tim McCrea, Eric Marten, Brian O’Donohue, Darren Stapleton, Ron Ring, Todd O’Donohue

Holland Barry & Bennett Funeral Home is assisting the family.

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