BEVERLY FARMS, Mass. — Werner J. Rothbacher, 83, husband of Betsy (Wyman) Rothbacher, of Beverly Farms, and longtime resident of Brunswick, died Wednesday, Feb. 2, after his extended illness.

He was born on Jan. 21, 1928, in Taxenbach, Austria, the eldest son of the late Leopold and Erna Rothbacher. He grew up in a small mountain village in the Austrian Alps. Werner was a student at the University of Graz from 1948 to 1952, graduating with a degree in Physical Education and History.

He came to the United States on a Fulbright Scholarship in 1952, and studied at Springfield College, Springfield, Mass. He returned to Austria to teach and continue his education at the University of Vienna, where he studied toward his Ph.D. in 1955.

Werner returned to the United States in 1956, with the Institute of International Education “I had left the old Europe with shameful ease and I had very few moments when I felt sorry for what I had left behind … I was looking ahead into the future with not a trace of fear … to face the new beginning.” He was hired as a ski instructor by Sugarloaf, USA in 1957.

He became the Ski School Director at Sugarloaf the following year and spent 10 years developing the Austrian inspired “Wedeln” technique of skiing at Sugarloaf, teaching skiing and developing ski instructors to pass along the innovative ski technique. He coached the Colby College Ski Team while at Sugarloaf. Werner was a certified U.S. ski instructor, a certified Austrian ski instructor and a Professional Ski Instructor of America member.

Werner became a high school teacher in 1966, teaching German and Physical Education in Maine. He was a teacher at Brunswick High School for 20 years, teaching German, Physical Education, coaching the Bowdoin College Ski Team and the Brunswick High School swimming teams. While teaching, he continued his skiing career as the Ski School Director at Lost Valley, Auburn, for 20 years.

Werner spent his summers at the waterfront at Camp Chewonki, Wiscasset, where he taught swimming. After retiring from his teaching career, he worked at Bowdoin College in the Athletic Department. Werner always found inspiration and empowerment from working with young people and this is why he chose to dedicate his life to teaching. His other passions included his family, Austria, fishing and camping in Maine and Popham Beach.

In addition to his wife of 52 years, he is survived by four children, Heidi Rothbacher Davidson of Eugene, Ore., Rainer Wyman Rothbacher of Eugene, Ore., Richard Werner Rothbacher of Bartlett, Ill., and Liesl Rothbacher Hawley of Manchester, Mass.; his 11 beautiful grandchildren; his sister, Traudl Straub, and two brothers, Seighart Rothbacher and Reiner Rothbacher of Zell am See, Austria.

To leave a condolence for his family please visit www.whittier-porter.com.

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