W. Rex Whitlatch

W. Rex Whitlatch, 84, of Grand Junction, Colo., passed away Oct. 2, 2021, from complications of the coronavirus.

Rex was born in 1937 to Harold and Pauline Whitlatch at Burnham City Hospital in Champaign. He attended Urbana High School, where he was a four-year contender and two-time Illinois State Wrestling Champion.

After high school Rex attended the University of Illinois, where he received a master’s degree in physical education. He also continued his wrestling career there, becoming captain of the wrestling team and a collegiate national title contender.

After graduation, he did a short teaching/coaching internship at Niles West High school before becoming the head wrestling coach and a physical education teacher at Hinsdale Central High School in 1964.

While at HCHS, Rex founded the Hinsdale Holiday Wrestling Tournament, which was renamed the Rex Whitlatch Holiday Tournament in 1993.

Rex retired from teaching and coaching in 1992. He was inducted into the Illinois Wrestling Hall of Fame and the National Wrestling Hall of Fame in 2013.

Rex married his high school sweetheart, Nancy Mendel, in 1955. After his retirement they relocated to Grand Junction, Colo., where they spent time at their mountain cabin and traveled extensively. Rex enjoyed pursuing his love of hunting and fishing in the Colorado outdoors.

Rex was preceded in death by his parents; his older brother and two sisters; and his youngest daughter, Wendi Blake Bearden.

He is survived by his wife of 66 years, Nancy; his son, Curt; his daughter, Christi; his six grandchildren; and his five great-grandchildren.

Services will be private.

In lieu of flowers, memorials may be made to a charity of choice.