The recent passing of Northern Marianas College art instructor Barry Wonenberg has left family and peers emotional during a wake held yesterday in his honor at the Borja Funeral Homes.
One of Wonenberg ‘s former students, Rep. Ed Propst (Ind-Saipan), was one of many that was saddened by the tragedy.
“He was a dear family friend. He was also an instructor of mine all the way back in 1989 and 1990. I worked for his wife, Maggie Wonenberg, at the English lab at NMC back then. My dad worked at NMC, so [Wonenberg and he] were colleagues and dear friends and we’ve known each other for a long time, so it’s really saddening,” said Propst.
Agnes McPhetres, Northern Marianas Trades Institute president and president emeritus of NMC, could not hold back tears as she remembered Wonenberg, who taught at NMC for 25 years.
“He was actually the person that I really wanted to hire, because NMC back then didn’t have arts, and art is a program that is really important for the college,” said McPhetres. “He was our art instructor and has been there for so many years; he built the art department and was a really good teacher—well loved by the students, and was very dedicated…”
The interview with McPhetres had to be cut short as she was overcome with emotions.
Wonenberg, who is survived by his wife, Maggie, and their three children, represented the CNMI in various international art contests overseas.
He was 58 years old.