Evanston community leader leaves legacy after death

Sammy Caiola

John Wyandt, former alderman and charter member of the Evanston Lighthouse Rotary Club, died May 8 of natural causes at Evanston Hospital. He was 79.

During his 58 years of Evanston residence, Wyandt made significant contributions to many facets of the community. He was a senior warden at St. Matthew’s Episcopal Church, a former president of the rotary club and an active member of the Evanston Republicans. He served as 6th Ward alderman from 1971 to 1983.

Wyandt leaves behind four daughters and his wife, Dorothy, to whom he was married for 58 years. Susan Prout, his second oldest daughter, remembers him as a family man with a passion for Northwestern basketball, whittling and duplicate bridge.

“He had a strong sense of public service and really loved all things Evanston,” she said. “He felt his biggest successes in life were his children. He took great pride in all that we accomplished.”

Bruce Baumberger, a member of the rotary and Wyandt’s longtime friend and neighbor, said Wyandt was responsible for recruiting 31 of the group’s current 86 members. He said membership, philanthropy and event planning were Wyandt’s greatest contributions to the club.

“John is a person who was always focused on improving and expanding club operations and activities,” Baumberger said. “He’s a person who has definitely left his mark on Evanston and in the rotary world and will be missed by all of us.”

Wyandt also contributed to St. Matthew’s as a vestry member and a Bible study leader. Connie Conley, who met John and Dorothy at the church’s couples club over 50 years ago, called Wyandt “a very caring person with a great sense of humor.”

He was known around the church for his strong personality, she said.

“Sometimes he would come across as being a little gruff, but that was his sense of humor,” said Conley. “He was always definite in what he thought. You always knew where you stood with him.”

The memorial service will be held at St. Matthew’s Episcopal Church, 2120 Lincoln Street, on Saturday.

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