Instructor dies, leaves endowment


An economics instructor who might have taught more students than any other teacher at K-State has died.

Roger Trenary, instructor of economics and director of undergraduate studies, died at 5:30 a.m. Tuesday in his home at the age of 60 after a long battle with Lou Gehrig’s disease. He was diagnosed with the degenerative nerve disease, also called amyotrophic lateral sclerosis, in 2003.

A memorial will be at 1 p.m. Saturday at All Faiths Chapel.

During his 29-year career at K-State, Trenary taught an estimated 24,000 students in an introductory economics course and many other classes. He won a number of teaching awards, including the Commerce Bank Teaching Award and the university-wide Presidential Award for Teaching Excellence in 1998. He also won the Stamey Award for outstanding teaching in the College of Arts and Sciences four times.

“It’s a huge loss to the university,” said Bob Shoop, professor of educational leadership and a close friend of Trenary’s. “As a professor I believe there has never been an instructor who was more dedicated to the education of every student in his class.”

Trenary leaves behind an endowment of more than $600,000, initiated and funded largely by former students for the Trenary Chair in Economics in his memory. Friends, family and colleagues, including President Jon Wefald, also gave to the fund.

Shoop said Trenary continued to teach for as long as he was physically able, until the end of last school year.

“He decided he wasn’t going to have any heroic methods used,” Shoop said. “He knew it was terminal. When it started getting bad, he refused any intravenous feeding or anything like that.”

Trenary was born on Feb. 27, 1946 in Detroit, Mich., to Mary Lee Trenary and the late Glenn Trenary. He was preceded in death by his father, and sister, Carol Trenary. He is survived by his wife, Kate Philp; son, Ben, senior in pre-professional secondary education, and his fiancée, Trish Gott, senior in modern languages; brother, Robert Trenary of Farmington, Mich.; and his mother of Michigan.

Trenary came to K-State in 1977 after earning bachelor’s and master’s degrees from Wayne State University in Detroit.

In lieu of flowers, contributions may be made to the KSU Foundation Trenary Chair in Economics, the ALS Society, or the Roger Trenary Tennis and Education Fund, Manhattan Community Foundation.