Sheldon Wayne Liebman, 79, formerly of Oak Park, died at his home in LaGrange Park on Sept. 15, 2020. Born to Abe and Sadie Liebman on Nov. 17, 1940 in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, he earned a B.S. degree in Economics from the Wharton School in 1962, an M.A. in American Literature from the University of Pittsburgh in 1964, and a PhD in American Literature from the University of Pennsylvania in 1972. He authored 35 scholarly articles on American Literature and was a college and university professor for 57 years, teaching literature, philosophy, grammar, writing, and humanities, most recently serving as chair of the Humanities Department at Wilbur Wright College until his retirement in 2017. He was a student of Judaism and the Bible, and authored two books, one on Christianity and one on Judaism.
He served eight years as a member of the Oak Park Elementary School and five years on the Hemingway Foundation Board. He was a member of the Walter Mitty Jazz Band, Pennies From Heaven Trio, and the American Library Association. Of all of his accomplishments, he said he was most proud of having built a summer home in upper state New York with just a hammer and handsaw. An activist and a humanitarian, he was an advocate for equality and justice. His sharp sense of humor was matched only by his brilliant mind, his humble way of living, and his love for the work and teachings of Jesus.
Shel Liebman is survived by Gail, his beloved partner of 30 years; his children, Sarah (Brian), Rebecca; his former spouse and the mother of his children, Gale; his grandchildren Charlotte, Markus, and Micah; his sister, Dianne (Allan); his brother, Marc (Patricia); his nieces, Pamela, Stephanie, and Caroline; and his nephews Ari, David, Lionel, Simian, Zachary, and Andy.
Due to COVID restrictions, no service will be held at this time. Shel’s children have created a memorial website at sheldon-wayne-liebman.forevermissed.com. Celebrations of his life will be planned at various locations in the future. For those wishing to make a donation in his name, he was a longtime supporter of St. Jude’s Children’s Hospital and its efforts to treat and eliminate childhood cancer.