Hoerr holds a special place in Beloit’s history. He is one of only four alumni to have served as the college’s president. He was an active board member from 1985 to 1998 and chaired the board of trustees.
Whether he was on an athletic field or in the boardroom, Hoerr made a lasting impression as a strong and charismatic leader. Bob Virgil’56 vividly recalls the first time Hoerr stepped onto the Beloit College football field. “Everyone stopped in their tracks,” he writes. “He had such a commanding presence. One knew Ed would be the heart of Buccaneer football during his years, and he was.” Hoerr went on to captain the team.
Rod Hermes’58 played quarterback during the 1955 season with Hoerr. “He was always a great and huge offensive tackle and often saved me from a number of rushing defensive linemen and linebackers,” he says. “He was a wonderful teammate and a fine human being.”
Hoerr was a member of the SAE fraternity, served as president of his class, and sang in Beloit’s choral groups. Chet Tschetter’58 says that while Hoerr may have been widely known for varsity athletics, he also had a rich bass voice, and he made singing in the Witmer Choraliers and the Chapel Vesper Choir a lot of fun.
Hoerr was born in Peoria, Ill., where he returned after graduate school to become a longtime civic, church, and business leader. For more than 30 years, he worked in the family’s wholesale grocery business in Peoria and remained the company’s president when it was later sold.
As Beloit’s president, Hoerr was known as a “gentle giant,” a reference to his stature and thoughtful style. He regularly ate meals in Commons as one way of getting to know students.
Hoerr’s letters to alumni, which appeared in Beloit College Magazine during his presidency, radiate enthusiasm and warmth for Beloit. “For one year, I am privileged to have a front row seat at the most exciting game in town—Beloit College in action—and I plan to enjoy every moment of it,” he wrote.
Among his Beloit honors was a 2007 Distinguished Service Citation from the Alumni Association and an honorary Doctor of Humane Letters degree in 2013.
Hoerr is survived by Judy Jordan Hoerr’57, his wife of 60 years, two sisters, Barbara Hoerr Hokinson’60 and Karen Hoerr Carson’64, a daughter, a son, and five grandchildren.