In Memory

Robert Koonz (Faculty)

Robert (Bob) Allen Koonz passed away on Monday, February 1st, 2016, at Evanston Hospital. Bob was born on February, 21, 1941, in Chicago, IL, son of Carl and Gladys Koonz.
Bob taught Chemistry/AP Chemistry at New Trier High School for over 30 years. He was a remarkable teacher who was very beloved by his students. He retired from full time teaching in 2003; however, he continued to substitute teach and tutor throughout his retirement.

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08/22/22 08:51 AM #1    

Thomas Rocek

He had a huge impact on many students both intellectually and with his enthusiasm, including launching multiple science careers!

08/22/22 10:00 AM #2    

George St. George

Bob rented my grandmother's garage apartment for a few years, and that's when I came to know him.  After I transferred from Loyola to NTW, people would come up to me and say, "St. George?  Do you have a crazy grandmother who rents an apartment to Mr, Koonz?"    Apparently, he had been giving rather one-sided descriptions of their relationship.  laugh

The funniest memory I have of him was in AP Chemistry on his birthday.  All of us were armed with water squirt bottles.  After he came in and took roll, we all started singing "Happy Birthday" and pulling up our weapons.  He grabbed the hose attached to the sink spigot on the bench in the front of the lab and grunted, "Unh.  I have the ULTIMATE WEAPON!!"  That didn't deter us, and we all started firing.  He turned on the sink, full blast.  Since the spigot hadn't been used in years, probably, the hose was rotten and blew apart, drenching him!

Rest in peace, Bob.  yes  

08/22/22 12:10 PM #3    

Nello Lucchesi

Yes, he was a favorite teacher for many of his students.  I had him for both regular and AP chemistry.

I don't recall the birthday water fight that George wrote about above, but here are some other memories that I have of him:

  • We were rather sassy with him and he had a small ceramic statue called the "Ira Kornblat (sp.?) Award" that he would give to the most obnoxious commentor just before sending the winner to the Advisor Chair.
  • We used to sing the Mickey Mouse song spelling his name instead of Mickey's.
  • Our AP class collected money for him as a thank you for helping us pass the exam.  He really prepared us well.  We couldn't muster the $400 that an HP35 ( cost at that time, but we did manage to scrounge up enough (about $100) for a Bowmar Brain (, a four-function calculator that was advertised on TV and king-of-the-hill at the time.

He made a huge contribution to my high school experience and I'm very sad that I never saw him again after our AP Chemistry gathering during the summer of 1973.

08/22/22 12:24 PM #4    

Allan Tuchman

No teacher had more impact on my time in high school, nor in college.  Mr. Koonz was remarkable in his attention to students and teaching.   I had a chance on a post-graduation visit back to NTW, to thank Bob.  I'm glad I did.  Thanks, again.

08/26/22 02:28 AM #5    

Shahid Khan

I remember him with great fondness from both AP Chemistry and the Chess Club. He was the faculty advisor for Chess Club and would stay after regular school hours for our meetings every week and even went with us on the bus to away matches. We finished 4th in the Midwest High School Championships in 1972 so he received a nice trophy afterwards.

My favorite phrase of his was: "Convince yourself...".

 If you asked a question, he would give you a quick, concise explanation and if you didn't get it, he would just say "Convince yourself..." and move on to the next question or topic.

He didn't spoon feed you, he gave you a enough information for you to understand it, and if you didn't, it was on you to figure it out. I don't know i there's a better way to create independent thinking skills.  

Rest In Peace Mr  Koontz  


08/26/22 05:19 PM #6    

Jeffrey Krivit


Mr. Koonz was one of my favorite teachers in high school.  I was a very effective educator such that most of us scored high on the chemistry AP test.  I remember him writing equations with one hand then erasing them with the other hand.  You had to be a quick note taker!  One April fools day we put kitchen matches in his eraser!  It was a great gag.  For weeks afterwards, he always checked his erasers.

I was very lucky to have him as a teacher.

08/30/22 08:57 PM #7    

Judith Aaron (Whisler)

I, too, have fond memories of Mr. Koonz, both as a teacher (whose course helped me get into my chosen university early decision) and a colleague.  I had graduated college early and was teaching math at NTW.  As I was stepping into the elevator, Mr. Koonz called out (amid a cough and a tap to his chest, as he often did), "Hey, Aaron, get to class!"  I explained to him that I had not been in his class for 5 years but that he currently was teaching another Aaron, my brother Ian.

08/31/22 06:15 AM #8    

Jonathan Rubenstein

I also have very fond memories of Mr. Kooz. He was my favorite teacher at New Trier. He made AP chemistry fun and interesting. His  enthusiasm for science helped stimulate my career in medicine.

09/01/22 06:53 PM #9    

Evan Kent

I, too, have very fond memories of Mr. Koonz.  He made Chemistry and AP Chemistry fun and enjoyable, which was not an easy thing to do.  One of my favorite teachers at NTW.

02/21/23 07:28 AM #10    

Nello Lucchesi

Today is Mr. Koonz's birthday and, according to his obituary, he would have been 82.

Happy Birthday 🎈 

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