Roger Thielking

Obituary of Roger Christian Thielking

Roger Thielking passed away on November 2, 2023, in Rochester, NY, at the age of 96.  He was born in Amsterdam, NY, the son of Harold and Nettie (Horstman) Thielking.  


Having been a very successful student, Roger completed high school at the age of 16.  He was awarded a scholarship to attend the University of Rochester and successfully completed 2 years before he enlisted in the US Navy.  He was in training as a radio technician at the Naval Research Lab in Washington, D.C. when WWII came to an end.  After he and his fellow enlistees completed their training, they were assigned to help with the de-mobilization of the troops. He always mused that they completed paperwork and signed the discharge papers for everyone else before they were directed to complete and sign their own discharges. He returned to his studies and graduated with a B.S. in Physics.  He later received a Master of Education degree, as well as a Master of Science degree in Electronics Technology.


Roger met his wife, Beverly Richard, on a blind date set up by a fellow Sigma Chi Fraternity brother at the University of Rochester.  They were married during Roger’s first year of teaching high school science. Roger decided that teaching at the high school level wasn’t for him.  He then began a 25-year career working as an electrical engineer for General Electric.  In 1973 he returned to teaching, but this time at the collegiate level as a professor at Onondaga Community College.  During his tenure at the college, he rose to the position of Department Chairperson.  Throughout his career he was awarded patents, authored several technical papers, published in technical handbooks and periodicals, and received several awards.  His proudest achievement was receiving the Outstanding Educator Award of the St. Lawrence Division of the American Society of Engineering Education. 


After Beverly passed away in 1992, Roger became a global traveler, touring multiple continents throughout the world.  His only regret was the fact that Beverly was not able to enjoy these experiences with him.  To be closer to his children and grandchildren Roger first moved to Rochester, NY, the home of his son’s family, and later Orlando, FL, to be closer to his daughter’s family.  He returned to Rochester in 2016, becoming a resident in assisted living.  During these years, he became very engaged in a wide variety of activities, including both the vocal and bell choirs, lunch outings, trips to the philharmonic, scenic and historic bus trips, and leading a daily “current events” group each morning.  He found those years to be so enjoyable that he always ended his annual Christmas letter with “This is the kind of life that I have always wanted to become accustomed to!”  


Wherever Roger lived over the years, he always sought activities within the community.  He was very active in the Optimist Club of Syracuse and led a Boy Scouts Explorer group focused on careers in electrical engineering.  As a member of the Unitarian Church, he served on many congregational committees. He also served as the Treasurer of the Saint Lawrence District which included over 30 different congregations throughout New York State and was a regular attendee at the annual General Assembly of the Unitarian-Universalist Association.


All services for Roger will be held privately.  Those wishing to honor his memory with a charitable donation are asked to consider Habitat for Humanity.


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