Reinhold Wappler

Obituary of Reinhold Danforth Wappler

Reinhold Danforth Wappler, 92, of New Canaan, Connecticut passed away peacefully on the 12th of March, 2024 in Darien, Connecticut surrounded by his family. Reinhold is predeceased by his wife, Jane Wappler (née Howard), and his son, Sheldon Wappler. He is survived by his eldest son, Peter, of his first marriage to Audrey Sheldon with whom he also had Sheldon, and his two daughters Sarah and Amy, of his marriage to Jane Wappler, as well as his daughters-in-law Barbara Chadwick and Karen Wappler (née Burns), and his six grandchildren Sam, Ivy, Will, Ella, Rory, and Hazel.

A beloved father, husband, grandfather, businessman, and teacher, Reinhold lived a rich and varied life. Born in New York City on February 20th, 1932 to Frederick and Mary Wappler, Reinhold graduated from St. Marks Academy in 1949 and then studied engineering at Harvard University and later Columbia University, graduating in 1954. After serving briefly in the Army, he began his career working for his family’s medical instrument manufacturing company, American Cystoscope Makers Incorporated (ACMI) at their factory in Pelham,

New York and later Stamford, Connecticut. During Reinhold’s tenure as president, ACMI made significant advances in the development of endoscopic instruments, enabling doctors to peer into the human body in minimally invasive ways. After the successful sale of ACMI to American Hospital Supply in 1980, Reinhold began his second career as a mathematics teacher at New Canaan Country School in New Canaan, Connecticut, where he would teach for a quarter century. An early adopter of using computers in education, Reinhold set up a pioneering lab in the elementary school where students could explore mathematics using the newest technology of the day. His teaching style was inventive, forward thinking, and experimental, and yet still anchored to classic foundations. He urged generations of students to go beyond rote processing and think conceptually about math, as well as to internalize that risk taking is what begets learning as well as success. He rewarded students when they learned from making mistakes. Reinhold loved to incorporate real-world examples in his class; his classroom was littered with gadgets and contraptions meant to unlock the secrets of mathematics. In short, Reinhold loved to bring mathematics to life. He imparted his students with a deep curiosity and reverence for the machinations of our world. In fact, this curiosity spread to all who knew him, especially his children and grandchildren.

Reinhold spent nearly every summer of his life in Maine, a place he loved deeply and came to embody. There he played and taught his favorite card game, cribbage, to countless friends and family over the decades.

Reinhold was a living reminder of the basic aspirations towards human dignity and peace. His calm manner, the easy way he sat with legs crossed, the thoughtful and patient way he expressed himself, his light-heartedness, and his genuine delight in benign naughtiness and comedy were treasured by all who knew and loved him. Intellectual, commanding, witty, delightfully impish, and sweet at heart, Reinhold’s presence will be dearly missed.

There will be an informal gathering to celebrate his life at the Roger Sherman Inn on Sunday, April 7th 2024 at 12 noon.

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