Wehner honored for his humor and heart | Friends and peers reflect on life lost

Trevor Wehner’s memorial cross sits outside in Aurora.

By Jessie Kern

DeKALB — Friends and peers of Trevor Wehner remember him with a smile on his face and as a driven individual who was never afraid to let his goofball side shine.

Wehner, 21, was a senior management major who had a drive for success in the College of Business working toward a career in human resources and a notable love for making people laugh. Wehner was named on the 2018 College of Business Dean’s List and would have graduated in May. His determination to achieve his goals as a human resource leader led him to an internship at Henry Pratt Co., but soon after starting, tragedy struck the city of Aurora and the NIU community as Wehner was announced a victim in the Aurora shooting Friday.

Senior management major Kelli Tyler said Wehner was someone who could make anyone laugh and always had a positive attitude.

“[Wehner] was someone who always came to class with a smile on his face and ready to go,” Tyler said. “He was also one of the most positive people in class. He always found a way to make a positive spin on a negative situation, and not only that, [but] he always found a way to make everyone laugh in class every day.”

Tyler said she had classes with Wehner every day, and she knew him as an incredibly driven student. She said he would go to class 10 minutes early just to speak with Mahesh Subramony, who teaches their leadership and consulting class, because Wehner admired Subramony.

She said Wehner was always pushing others in their consulting class to look for more internships and attend job fairs to get themselves out there. She also said Wehner encouraged her to go to the job fair even though it lacks human resource opportunities because he said it was all part of the process and Tyler could end up finding something she really liked.

Tyler said she remembers a negotiating class she took with Wehner their junior year and Wehner’s ability to lighten the mood during trying situations and de-stress the group with his humor.

“[Wehner] was able to take himself out of the role really quickly and make everyone laugh and make it not feel so stressful, and everyone was able to debrief for a minute and then go back into the situation,” Tyler said.

Senior management major Maddy Stapleton, who also works in the advertising department of the Northern Star, said she took Managerial Negotiations with Wehner and remembers his ability to make the class fun and enjoyable.

Of the activities in class, she said the group would have to roleplay scenarios, and Wehner always took his roles seriously.

“He was a great classmate to have, adding excitement and humor into everything we did,” Stapleton said. “From the class time I spent with him, I knew he would have made an outstanding human resource leader.”

Senior management major Abby Roemer was also a part of the consulting class with Wehner, and she said because there were only seven human resources students, the group became closer this year.

Roemer said Wehner was passionate about helping others and always able to speak his mind when something didn’t seem right. She, too, said she remembers a roleplaying assignment the class did with each other and the way Wehner was able to make it fun.

“[Wehner] just took the embodiment of the most funny character ever and was able to make us all laugh and get through the assignment while having a good time,” Roemer said. “He was such a good student and really cared for what he was learning about and was just so great.”

Aside from being an outstanding student through the eyes of his peers, Wehner influenced many of his teammates on the Illinois Valley Community College baseball team before transferring to NIU. Wehner played on the team in 2016 as a left-handed relief pitcher and wore the number 33.

Austin Headrick, a former teammate of Wehner’s, said Wehner was like an unofficial fifth roommate to himself and the others who lived in what they called “The Baseball House.” Headrick said Wehner spent a lot of time there and had an ability to walk in and make everyone laugh.

“He never failed to make anyone smile, I’ll tell you that; that’s probably what I know about [Wehner],” Headrick said.

Headrick, who was a catcher on the baseball team, said Wehner made for a lot of great memories.

“He’d walk in the room like he was the best pitcher in the world, and he knew he wasn’t, but he’d make you believe it; he was that kind of guy,” Headrick said.

“You didn’t have to be close to him for him to feel like you were close to him,” Headrick said. “He was just that kind of guy; he made everyone feel like he was [their] best friend.”

Junior meteorology major Logan Bundy also played on the Illinois Valley Community College baseball team with Wehner before transferring to NIU. Bundy said he spent practically every day with Wehner, allowing them to grow and develop a brotherly bond.

“He just was a really cool, funny guy, [with a] big heart; [we] made so many memories,” Bundy said. “He was just a guy you wanted to be around.”

Bundy said Wehner was very personable and took others by surprise with the way he would go up to anyone and introduce himself. He said coming into college, Wehner became someone Bundy looked up to.

“He was one of those guys where not only on the field but off the field, just the way he went about his business was something to take note of,” Bundy said.

Bundy said their coach, Jason Good, always preached about the team being about more than just baseball. He said Good told the team they’d form bonds and build relationships that would last well after their season ended. Bundy said Wehner was, without a doubt, someone he wanted to keep in touch with because of the type of person he was.

“He was very confident, very kind, really a smart guy, brilliant, he was funny, all the good qualities that you would want in a good friend, he had them,” Bundy said.