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MICHAEL ANTHONY WERCKLE, M.D. ROCKFORD, Illinois - On March 28, 2018, Dr. Michael A. Werckle was honored by the University of Illinois College of Medicine Rockford at the investiture ceremony for the Michael A. Werckle, M.D. Endowed Professorship in Biomedical Sciences. This day of celebration was a highlight of Dr. Werckle's lifework, and serves as an ongoing tribute to his legacy as a compassionate physician, respected educator, and dedicated public servant. At the end of this joyous day, Dr. Werckle returned home where he slipped quickly and painlessly away knowing how proud his family was of him.

Born in Peoria, Illinois on August 10, 1939 to Winton Earl Werckle and Florine Yvonne (Carollo) Werckle, Michael announced at an early age his intention to become a doctor. A lifelong member of Westminster Presbyterian Church in Rockford, he remembered carrying bricks as a child for the construction of the church building at 3000 Rural Street. After graduating with one of the first National Merit Scholarships from Rockford East High School in 1957, he worked to pay his way through Cornell College in Mount Vernon, Iowa (BA, 1962), and University of Illinois College of Medicine in Chicago (MD, 1966). He completed his internship and residency through the University of Michigan at Wayne County General Hospital, where he quickly rose to become Director of the Outpatient Department and Long Term Care Facility. In 1973, Dr. Werckle returned to Illinois to serve as Associate Director of the Illinois Department of Public Health in Springfield, where he was instrumental in the effort to vaccinate school children during the 1976 outbreak of swine flu. In 1977, he moved back to his hometown of Rockford where he joined the faculty of the newly formed University of Illinois College of Medicine as Assistant Clinical Professor of Medicine, a position he held until his passing. In 1980, he opened North Alpine Medical Clinic (later Rockford Clinic on North Alpine) in an area which was previously underserved. Dr. Werckle practiced internal medicine there, specializing in geriatrics, until his retirement in 2006. He loved his work there, often commenting that it didn't feel like work because he spent all day visiting with his friends.

He received numerous awards and honors during his life, including two Golden Apple Awards, a Faculty Distinguished Service Award, the Arnold Gold Humanism in Medicine Award, and the Endowed Professorship in Biomedical Sciences in his name, which was made possible by a grant from the Blazer Foundation. Dr. Werckle served on the boards of Rockford Health System, Lifescape, Wesley Willows, Visiting Nurses Association, and many others. He served as President of Medical Staff at Rockford Memorial Hospital, and was Medical Director of many organizations, including Rockford Clinic, Fairhaven Christian Home, Willows on Main, Alpine Fireside, and In Home Medical Service. In 2017, Dr. Werckle became majority owner of Hospice Care of America, where he had served as Medical Director since 2006.

Dr. Werckle will be remembered for his warmth of spirit and caring nature. He believed in the healing power of simply listening compassionately to people, and made this the cornerstone of his caring practice. Recalling his working class roots, Dr. Werckle never refused care to anyone for the inability to pay.

A huge fan of antique and vintage cars, Dr. Werckle was active in many car clubs including the Vintage Motor Car Club of America and the Rock-Ford A's, serving as president of both organizations. He loved driving in classic car tours several times a year all over the country with his wife and friends, and he was known to make house calls to elderly patients in an antique car of their choice.

Dr. Werckle is survived by his wife Patricia Ann (Petzinger) Werckle of Rockford; children Michael David Werckle of Rockford, daughter Elizabeth Ann Werckle of Machesney Park, and Sarah Kathryn (Matthew) Rip of Coal Creek Canyon, Colorado; grandchildren Anne Lee Harris of Machesney Park, Dashiell Michael Rip and Lincoln Russell Rip both of Coal Creek Canyon, Colorado; sister Jacqueline (Werckle) White of Bonham, Texas; brothers W. David Werckle (Sara) of Stillman Valley, Illinois, and Richard L. (Linda) Werckle of Jacksonville, Florida; special cousin Joseph Broz of Vancouver, Washington; special friend Mark R. Blazer of Rockford; 18 nieces and nephews; four cousins; and his grand-dog "Dad."

He was predeceased by his parents; sister Patricia Werckle Zeller; stepparents Ralph Steele and Winifred Werckle; his grandparents; aunts and uncles; one cousin; special friend Cedric W. Blazer; and beloved Rottweilers Lovie and Millie.

Dr. Werckle's family invites you to a visitation from 3 to 6 pm, Friday April 6 at Olson Funeral Home, 1001 2nd Ave, Rockford; and to a service at 2pm, Saturday April 7, at UIC College of Medicine, 1601 Parkview Ave, Rockford. In lieu of flowers, donations may be made to Dr. Werckle's most recent endeavor: Hospice Care of America,3815 N. Mulford Rd., Rockford, IL 61114.

Condolences & Shared Memories (53)

  1. Bruce Harley

    Things I remember about Dr. Werckle: 1. His enthusiasm and smile. 2. He always had extra pens for the nurses. 3. I could barely keep up with him going up the stairs. 4. After rounds he would often ask”Have you ever wridden in a such and such?” He would then drive me around the perimeter road of Rockford Memorial Hospital in one of his antique cars. 5. At the end of my Medicine rotation he and Pat took my wife and I to dinner. 6. When my son was born he and Pat came to visit us in a white 1950's T-bird convertible. 7. He inspired me to pursue excellence and to always do one's best for the patient. 8. He taught me the importance of Internal Medicine as it relates to other branches of medicine. I continue to study Internal medicine to this day, even though it is not my chosen specialty. Thank you again, Mike. My condolences to Pat and the Werckle family. Bruce Harley

  2. Shawn Shianna, MD

    Dr. Werckle was my very first clinical professor when I started my hospital rotations way back in 1982. He set a very high bar that was seldom matched by all who followed. Not only was he intelligent and wise, but very patient and kind with his patients and students. I have tried to emulate him but never came close to equalling him.

  3. Nancy Mitchell

    Just viewed this again......such a beautiful, much too short amazing life.....Dr Werckle......Oh, how you are missed !!!!!!!

  4. Lynette Wherley

    I'm so saddened to see the passing of Dr. Mike. He was my mother's doctor at Alpine Fireside Center. She was in pretty rough shape when we landed there from another nursing home. I was so impressed with his demeanor, style and positive attitude. He didn't treat the elderly like throwaways of society. He really cared. And it showed in the way he taught his residents too. His immediate plan was to take her off the other home's Hospice, and put her into Physical Rehab. He really turned her around, his plan gave her a burst of strength for awhile that gave her hope and smiles. I will always be grateful to Dr. Mike for lifting us out of that dark place if only for a little while. What an interesting gentleman and outstanding professional. I will miss not spotting him on the road in his Model T. I wish all geriatric doctors could be so caring and proactive. His legacy will live on I hope in his residents. My sincere condolences to his wife and family.

  5. Kathy Baxter

    A wonderful man and honor and joy to work with. Praying you will feel the comfort and peace of the Lord who loves you and draws even closer to the broken-hearted. Blessings and love

  6. Ron and Shirley Stauffer

    Patti we were so sorry to hear of Dr Mike's passing. Our prayers are with you. We were so looking forward to seeing you both on the Lewis and Clark tour and renewing our friendship. Sorry we knew Dr Mike for such a short time.

  7. Jim Cohen & Kelly Smith

    We were devastated to learn of Mike's passing, we were extremely exited about visiting again on the upcoming Louis and Clark Tour. Our thoughts and prayers are with you during this difficult time, in Mike's name we have made a donation to Hospice Care.

  8. Geraldine Gilbert

    So sorry for your loss. He was my doctor for a long time. He spoiled me, I have not since found a doctor that could hold a candle to his thoughtful attention. I'm glad to know he had such a wonderful life after I thought he had retired. I guess one can't retire if it's not a job. He will stay alive forever with all the wonderful memories and accomplishments he leaves behind.

  9. Diane Gettle

    I have known Dr. Werckle for at least 30 years. In that time, I have witnessed the compassion and caring he showed to his residents/patients, their families, and the staff. I especially loved how he related to elderly residents/patients. He always showed them respect and treated them with dignity. I will surely miss him.

  10. Dr. Ken Petersen

    We have lost a great man, but what a legacy he has left us. From the love he had for his family and friends, to the personal connection he had with his patients, to the support he gave to his colleagues and students, culminating in the special honor of having an endowed professorship at UIC named for him. What a special last day he had, in which so many of us were able to share! I will certainly miss him. My deepest sympathies to Patti, Michael, Beth, Sarah and your families. As a physician, he truly embodied the aphorism of Dr Edward Trudeau: “To Cure Sometimes, To Relieve Often, To Comfort Always”

  11. Chuck & Dianna Anderson

    One of the many times he was doing paperwork for licensing/titling another vehicle at the DMV, he offered his help to my husband Chuck. His Mother was in early stage of alzheimer's. 30 years ago there was hardly any support & knowledge of the alzheimer's process. He was there to guide us through a very difficult time in our lives. His loving way treating her like she was still the beautiful loving person she was before the illness kept her so calm. He was truly one of a kind. Thank you for sharing him with the world. It is a better place because he was part of it. All our prayers to your Family on your loss.

  12. Dorice Royce

    My condolences to you and your family on the passing of a great person and physician. I enjoyed working with Dr. Werckle on the Deans Action Counsel at the School of Medicine. I will be thinking and praying for you, Mrs. Werckle and your family.

  13. Joanne Fruit

    I worked with Dr. Werckle at the Shappert Health Center in Belvidere. He was a very caring physician with our patients and a dedicated educator with our medical students. My sympathy to the family.

  14. Nancy Mitchell

    Still seems like a very bad dream/nightmare. Cannot believe this is true. Dr Werckle was my family doctor when I first moved to Rockford, from Chicago. Have never found a more kind, caring doctor and am still in shock at the devastating news of his sudden departure to the next phase in a life much too short, but very well lived. Waiting to "meet up" in the next phase. Condolences to family and friends.Caring thoughts, prayers and much love, and hugs to Patti and family.

  15. Rachael Clark

    Doc you were an amazing human being. You will be greatly missed, but never forgotten. I had the pleasure of knowing Doc Werkle for 33 years. He was a family friend and an active member of the Rockford Model A Restorers Club family. My thoughts and prayers are with his family during this difficult time.

  16. Jane Rigby

    Dear Patti, I was so sorry to hear of Mike's passing. My thoughts and prayers are with you at this sorrowful time. I met you and Mike at some of the National VMCCA Board meetings. VMCCA has lost a great member and Past President. My condolences to the whole family. Jane Rigby, Valley Roardunners Chapter, Phoenix, AZ.

  17. Roger and Shirley Mitchell

    May God be with you and your family in this time of loss.

  18. Kelsey LeVault

    Dr. Werckle was one of the first clinical faculty I interacted with when starting medical school in Rockford. He shared so much wisdom and compassion with countless students. He was such a great example of both a physician and person: caring, compassionate, with a heart for serving his community and educating future doctors. He had such a great impact during his life, and undoubtedly will continue to impact this world long after his passing because of his dedication to teaching young doctors.

  19. Carmella Kane

    Dear Patti and Family. So very sorry to hear of Dr Werckle passing. If you don't remember me you will remember Fay Sackman, I was the Carm she always talked about. She also always told everyone about the holidays spent at your house and our granddaughter Anne. She was so proud to be picked up by Dr Werckle in his Jag, made the other old ladies jealous that she had a handsome man picking her up for dinner on the holiday. I am sure there are a million people with a million memories of such a kind man. I for one am very proud to say I knew Dr Werckle and he was special to anyone who knew him. My prayers and sympathies to all of you.

  20. Dennis and Mary Hood,SVCC

    Dear Patti and Family, Please accept our sincerest sadness with the death of a truly remarkable person, Dr. Michael Werckle. We will miss his presence at the vintage car club tours. Sincerely, Dennis and Mary Hood Sequim Valley Car Club

  21. Nicky Bennett

    Kua hinga te Totara i te wao nui a Tane.... (A great Totara tree has fallen in the forest of Tane) When a notable figure dies in my home country, New Zealanders turn to this old Maori saying... a Totara is one of the giant red woods native to NZ, to lose one of these majestic trees is heartbreaking, as they are irreplaceable... as is mourning the loss of such a great man... Haere mai... (welcome home) Dr Werckle, our Lord has been waiting to thank you for your service to us all for quite some time.... Lots of hugs and love to Patti, the whanau (family) and all of us who loved him so dearly....

  22. Sharon Mouri

    So glad that Mike was able to receive such an honor and hear one final time how much he was loved and admired by patients, the medical community, friends and especially family. He will be missed by many. Special condolences, Pat. Praying for you and all the family. Miss you. I will be there on Saturday to pay my respects and remember Mike for the excellent physician, father, and husband that we all know he was. God bless you all.

  23. Ammar Ali

    He was an amazing man. When I was his student he fought me about more than just wisdom. He thought me a philosophy about loving the elderly and caring for them. I will never forget the time he introduced me to his former teacher who was one of his nursing home patients. The way he treated her with respect and dignity despite her condition was beautiful to see. An amazing man who i will never forget.

  24. Norman Huntley

    I was a patient of Dr.Werckle until his retirement.He was both a stellar doctor and human being.I will never find another Dr.who loved his job and the patients like him.I would run into him from time to time and he still made time to shoot the breeze.God has received this earthly angel I'm sure.Love ya Dr. until we meet again my friend! Norm

  25. Ed and Betty Hainke

    We are so saddened to hear of Mike's passing. Our thoughts and prayers are with Patti and their family. We will always remember the wonderful things he accomplished in life. We are so fortunate to have toured with Mike and Patti, having fun in our antique cars.

  26. Gene & Lillian Elliott

    Remembering a good person who helped many people in so many ways. God bless Patti and the rest of the family. The Lord is coming soon and what a joy to be reunited when this wonderful day happens and graves open to be free from pain and only joy ahead in the earth made new.

  27. Marcia Henneberry

    Patti, It has been a long time since I have seen you & Mike, but I still remember when you came up to Lake Delavan, & we went out to dinner. Bill passed in 2009, it is so hard to believe! May God be with you and your family at this difficult time. Marcia

  28. Russ & Marj Bees

    We are deeply saddened by the news of Mike's passing. We enjoyed many years of his friendship through the old car hobby & membership in the Vintage Car Club of America. We send our deepest sympathy to his wife, Patti, and other family members. Russ & Marj Bees

  29. Carol Green

    I got to know Mike when he became a member of the Board for Lifescape. As the CEO at Lifescape I always went to Mike with questions regarding our elderly clients and especially our adult day service clients. He was not only a wise and dedicated board member, but also was there at times when I was going through a lot of grief in my family. He was always the first to ask about them and inquire as to my well being. Mike leaves a gap in our Rockford Community that can not and will not be easily filled. My warm thoughts are with Patti and the family as they go endure this tremendous loss.

  30. Kim Schiavo

    Dr. Werckle was my mothers doctor at PA Peterson in the Alzheimer's ward. He was such a caring man & took care his patience with such love and compassion! We have certainly lost a great man here on earth but Heaven has gained an angel! My sincere sympathies to the family!

  31. Lynne Ross Emling

    I am sorry for your loss. I was a new RN in 1975 at Highland Hospital in Belvidere. I made round with Dr Werkle many times when he came over from Shappert Health Clinic. I always remember how caring he was to the older patients. I even remember him bringing one of his daughters on rounds with him to see a special patient.

  32. John and Debbie Licari

    We were saddened to hear about the passing of Dr. Werckle. He was John's mothers doctor for a number of years. We were so blessed to have him for her doctor. He was compassionate and caring when it came to dealing with his geriatric patients. He would listen to their concerns as well as those of their family. Dr. Werckle left a lasting impression on so many lives. We were lucky to have known him. His presence in this world will be missed. To Mrs. Werckle and her family our thoughts and prayers go out to you, thanks for sharing Dr. Werckle with us all.

  33. Gareth and Debra Eich

    We are so saddened to hear the loss of your husband. We had the opportunity to meet you both on other tours we have attended with our old car hobby over the years and miles. I am quite sure that Mike will be watching the roads from high above as we think of him on tours to come. Sincerely, the Eichs, St. Petersburg, FL.

  34. Don and Lee Royston

    Dear Mike, Please accept our most sincere condolences from ourselves and all our members of VMCCA SW Florida Region. We knew your dad only by reputation and we know he will be thoroughly missed by many of his great profession and family who love him dearly. May he now rest in peace.

  35. Jack Taylor

    I recall when my wife Virginia met Dr. Werkle. She asked, "What kind of doctor are you?" and he replied, "A good doctor." He had that right. Not only was he a good doctor but also he was a good person. He had our respect, admiration and love. My condolences to those left behind and my sympathy goes especially to Patti because I know how it is to lose someone you have loved for a very long time.

  36. Charlyne Blatcher Martin

    Dear Mike: My sincere condolences to you and your family at this time. May peace and comfort come in knowing how much your dad was loved by many.

  37. Judy Wright

    Ted & I are greatly saddened by the loss of such a special person. We know him through VMCCA and so appreciate all he did for our organization. Such a loss for anyone who knew him. Patty I keep picturing the two of you in your car on the convertible tour! Such a good memory. We send our sincere condolences to you and hope you will continue to be part of us.

  38. Joyce and Bill Sullivan

    So many happy memories of VMCCA tours with Mike. Also, we so appreciate the times he talked with our son, John, while John battled cancer. God Bless and caring to the family.

  39. Carolyn johns

    Thinking of you in this very difficult time with Mikes passing.Prayers and love always to you Patty and family

  40. Marty & Dale Roth

    Having known Dr. Mike and Patti for only the past few decades, I wish we had been able to share life, family, friends, and the antique car hobby even longer. My respect for Mike is both as a friend and as a humanitarian. My memory is of a talented physician, educator, musician, but most of all - a caring "family" man, willing to share his expertise and guidance, not in an imposing way, but more that of an older brother, perhaps wiser and experienced in other ways. From our love of old cars and old car people, to cross-country drives, to grandchildren, to Swedish Pancakes when we could visit, - with time, the sweet memories will far outnumber the loss we currently bear. Patti, please know that we are only a phone call away, and just "Down the Road a Piece", and welcome your contact. Dr. Mike has been called home, and has truly earned his place in heaven.

  41. Mary Logston

    So sorry Patti - we're losing all the good ones.

  42. Kenny and Eva Benham

    Patti we are thinking of you, and your family. Mike was a very special person. He was loved and respected by everyone.

  43. Valeri DeCastris and Dave Beccue

    This is horrible news and a HUGE shock! Dr. Werckle was one of a kind! He was our neighbor for years when they lived on Coolidge and was very close to my Dad. He lent Dave and I his antique car and driver (that was the same model as my parents' 1949 wedding car) for our wedding getaway car. He did everything for everyone! He always told my Dad that his greatest wish was that he could learn to play mandolin like my Dad. My Dad thought that was incredible, given that he admired Mike as a doctor. He even wanted my Dad to teach him mandolin in my Dad's final days! He was our family doctor and family friend. He helped me so much when my Dad was dying and going through problems with his wife and I insisted that Dr. Werckle be my father's doctor while Dad was in assisted living. He helped us right until the end of my father's life and saw him the day he died. In his humble, human way he apologized to me, saying that he should have called me to tell me how bad my Dad was on his final day, as I had left Dad's bedside earlier to come home to get some medication prep for a medical test that I was having the next day and my Dad died before I could get back there. God's timing is His own and death is a very personal matter. Later, when the Werckle family moved to near the back entrance to Rock Cut State Park, my husband Dave, who works there, would see him often, mowing grass, etc. I would send Dave over to his house with cannolis, which he loved. He told me I should stop because I was going to make him fat and reminded me that he was Italian and German! He used to joke that the cultures in his family were so different, with the Italians being so boisterous and outgoing and the Germans more reserved, knowing I am Italian married to a German. He said that he so loved the Italian influence in his family. I know that he had cancer for years and eschewed chemotherapy, but he was so active and vital. Surely, this couldn't have been what took him. I am so glad he didn't suffer or waste away though and that he was active and honored just the night before he died. I wish that he and I had worked at the same time for the health department in Springfield...he would have been a great boss. And he was such a hoot traveling with his antique cars, decorating one like a mobster just for fun and to entertain people while traveling on the road. I have so many fond memories of Mike and Patty. My deepest condolences go out to Patty and the Werckle family. He gave so much of himself to everyone and Rockford was blessed to have his service to our community's citizens. A great doctor, a great man, a great and loyal friend, a great family man...RIP dear healer of bodies and hearts. You will certainly be missed by so many people. I know that you and Dad are now playing mandolin for the angels, and my Uncle Jimmy Capicotte, who loved Mike so much and wouldn't have any other doctor, is listening in. May God give Patty and the Werckle family some comfort at this sad time.

  44. Peter Bell

    Mike was a member of our chapter of the Vintage Motor Car Club of American in Dixon Ill. and also held the position of President and Vice President at the National level recently. His presence will be sorely missed by myself and wife Betty and the rest of the chapter members. Our thoughts and prayers go out to his wife Patty and family.

  45. Betty Bell.

    I was so saddened to hear of Mike's passing. He was a wonderful and compassionate man. He was such a special man and such a gentle sole. God now has a special man leading his angels. My thoughts and prayers our with you all.

  46. Lisa Nolley

    Our family fondly remembers Dr. He was our 1st dr when we moved to Loves Park in 1976. He was there for all of us when my father was so ill and remained there for us when dad passed. I remember him calling us "honey" and always explaining things gently where we could understand. We rejoice in knowing we will see him again one day. But will miss him dearly until that day comes. God Bless his family. He was cherished by many.

  47. Jerry lindmark

    We were In high school together and my wife and I we're patients He was always so kind and never rushed thru our visit. He gave so much to the community . I will miss him. Our sympathy to his family.

  48. Florence Fritsch

    Dr. Werckle was so kind, especially to his dear neighbors, the Grennlee's, checking on them morning and night. Besides being his mail carrier for several years, he would always say "hi" wherever I'd run into him, such a kind giving person.

  49. Loyd Wollstadt

    Mike was such a knowledgeable, caring, and blessed physician. He is an inspiration for us all. Mike's passion for giving comfort care/hospice care has helped all of us.

  50. Larry and Denise Ethun

    We are so sorry for your loss. Mike was a wonderful man and will be sorely missed in the RockFORD A's. We had many fun trips and events with him.

  51. The DeMaria Family

    My memories of Dr Werkle is caring for my Grandmother. He was so sweet to her and caring. She loved when he would come for her check-ups. Our family is very grateful for all he did for her. My son Chris knows Mike and was very sad to hear of his passing. He said he was a good guy. Prayers to all of you and may the Lord be with him.

  52. Fred Werckle

    Sorry to hear of Mike's passing. Met him only once at Washington , Il. Enjoyed the time spent with him at Dorothy Johnson's birth day party.

  53. Larry Elmore

    The great memories we all have with time spent with Mike will live on forever, he was such a great guy. He is reunited with his Loves Park Family Restaurant coffee guys circle telling lots of stories and playing liars poker with all of them!!

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