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Dr. Wilma ‘Billie’ J. Pesavento - 93


Dr. Wilma ‘Billie’ J. Pesavento, age 93, passed away peacefully surrounded by her family on Sunday, August 1st. Longtime Dunedin, Florida resident formerly of Waukegan, Winthrop Harbor, Homewood and Chicago’s Roseland/West Pullman/Pullman neighborhoods. Graduate of Winthrop Harbor Elementary School, Zion-Benton High School, received her Bachelor’s degree in Physical Education from the University of Illinois-Urbana and Ph.D. in Education from Northwestern University in 1966. Wife for 65 years of the late Roy Pesavento. Devoted mother of Lisa (Donald Stoub) Pesavento and David (Nancy) Pesavento. Beloved grandmother of James (Jennifer) Raymond and David (Katherine Baumann) Raymond. Fond step-grandmother of Erin (John Lynch) Stoub, Austin (Allison Kato) Stoub, Douglas (Nicole) Stoub, Paige (Paul Frede) Stoub, and Tyler (Laura) Stoub. New great-grandmother of Evelyn Jade Raymond. Daughter of the late Nell Susana “Helen” nee Anen and Herman DeYoung. Cherished aunt to Anita (Kenneth) Osterman, Michele Walsh, Gil (Muriel) LaRoche and Paul (Mary) LaRoche. Dear cousin to Marilyn Fossland Kirschhoffer and the late Elaine Johnson Smith who grew up as best friends together. Billie was not only devoted to her family but to serving others. She taught at the Iowa State University-Ames after graduation and then for the University of Illinois-Chicago. She taught at UIC-Navy Pier in 1950 as Professor and Head of the Department of Physical Education, where she oversaw the Professional Preparation Program for Physical Education majors. To these students she stressed the importance of making classes educational and enjoyable; giving personal attention to students; serving as a role model; and continuing education post-graduation through workshops, seminars and classes.

After Chicago Circle Campus opened in 1965, she continued to serve as Professor and Department Head, and was appointed Director of Graduate Studies in Physical Education. Along with holding several administrative positions, her courses focused heavily on the History of Sport and Play in America, and her research specialties on early 20th Century Native-American Sports and 19th Century Pullman Factory Workers’ Sport and Leisure. She retired in 1984 as Professor Emerita and gratefully received the UIC Flame Award for Teaching Excellence in 2007, nominated by her former students from the 1960s! Billie was an accomplished golfer and watercolor artist. Longtime member of Lincolnshire Country Club in Crete, Illinois, and Dunedin Country Club in Florida. She enjoyed her family and lifelong friendships with her colleagues, former students and friends. She was loved and respected by many. Resting at Panozzo Bros. Funeral Home, 530 W. 14th Street (U.S. Rt. 30, 3 blocks East of Western Avenue), Chicago Heights, 60411 on Monday August 9th from 3:00 PM to 8:00 PM. Services at funeral home Tuesday August 10th 10:00 AM. Burial Mount Hope Cemetery, Chicago. In lieu of flowers, memorials in Wilma’s name to University of Illinois-Chicago (UIC) Women’s Golf Team Scholarships at would be appreciated by the Pesavento family. Info 708-481-9230 or



1 Comment

  • Judy Zussman

    on 08/09/21

         Both Pam Milchrist and Pauline (Peterson) Lussenhop have said all that I am thinking and recall from the many ways Dr. Pesavento affected our lives.  I will add a few more thoughts to what they have already said.

         Dr. Pesavento was our professor and advisor at Navy Pier from 1961 to 1963.  First and foremost she was a true professional.  She took her job and responsibility to prepare us to become accomplished Physical Education teachers very seriously.  Dr. Pesavento's serious approach elicited our best efforts in her classes because she expected and demanded no less!  There was little room for foolishness and it was a rare occasion when our antics brought a smile to her face.  Yes, she "meant business," but she also showed that she was all too human and had a good sense of humor.

         Dr. Pesavento influenced me in so many ways.  Perhaps the best lesson I took from her as a student was that nothing less than my best effort was acceptable.  Being a teacher carried with it a huge responsibility.

         How fortunate I was to have her as my professor and going forward throughout my adult years to be able to call her my friend.

    Rest in Peace Wonderful Woman,

    Judy Zussman







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