Services Set For Hans Wichary

May 12, 2004

By Jack Williams
SAN DIEGO UNION-TRIBUNE STAFF WRITER

May 12, 2004

San Diego, Ca - For all Hans Scott Wichary's success in basketball, tennis and the telecommunications industry, there was one role that defined him above all others: family man.

Athletically, Mr. Wichary's rare combination of height (6 feet 9 inches) and finesse first opened eyes at University of San Diego High School, where he averaged more than 26 points per game as a senior basketball center.

Four years at Stanford University followed, then another few years of professional ball in Germany. And when the wear and tear of basketball began taking its toll on his joints, he channeled his competitive energies into age-group tennis, a sport he had embraced as a youth.

To hear friends tell it, though, he would rather talk about his daughters, Marlie, 12, and Britta, 6. He especially enjoyed sharing stories of joining them in holiday performances of 'The Nutcracker Suite' with the Southern California Youth Ballet Co.

'The No. 1 thing Hans wanted to be judged on was being a husband and parent,' said Howard Wright, a close friend and fellow athlete. 'He was an unbelievable husband and worshipped his two daughters. Everything else was a distant second, so far behind that it shouldn't even be on the list.'

Mr. Wichary, whose latest athletic passion was long-distance cycling, died in a biking accident Saturday while pedaling up state Route 78 in Santa Ysabel. He was 41.

Authorities said he lost control of the cycle and swerved in front of a pickup.

'There was something very special about Hans,' said Mike Scozzafava, a friend since childhood. 'He was one of those gentlemen who, if you knew him, you would say, 'It's not the size of the individual, it's the size of his heart.' People were very attracted to him.'

Mr. Wichary, a Scripps Ranch resident, was employed as a technical-marketing manager for Nokia.

He had been in the telecommunications industry for eight years, beginning with Qualcomm and later working as a senior manager for Kyocera Wireless. One of his specialties at Kyocera was representing his products as a guest speaker at various venues.

Born in Long Beach, Mr. Wichary grew up in an athletic family in Del Cerro. His father, Hans, is a former tennis pro and coach. His mother, Jo Anne, is an avid cyclist.

At USDHS, Mr. Wichary was the Dons' No. 1 singles player in tennis in addition to excelling on the basketball court. Academically, he was named Outstanding Foreign Language Student as a senior.

'Things came easily to Hans, but he worked his tail off,' said Wright, who starred in basketball at Patrick Henry High and followed Mr. Wichary to Stanford. 'He was a big guy with great touch and tenacity.'

Two years ago, Mr. Wichary was one of 15 athletes inducted into the USDHS Sports Hall of Fame.

As a collegian at Stanford, where he earned a bachelor's degree in economics, Mr. Wichary suffered a stress fracture in his right foot as a sophomore, a forerunner of the impact-induced injuries that would lead him to other pursuits.

He sat out the rest of the season, then started for the Cardinal as a junior and senior. After college, he elected to play professionally in Cologne, West Germany, partly due to his German heritage.

In the 1990s, he picked up tennis again, dominating his age group and winning a Junior Vets city of San Diego championship in 1998. When his back and knees rebelled, he made the transition to cycling, routinely logging 50 to 100 miles on weekend rides.

'With his large frame, he was a monster on the bike and great on the slopes, too, as a skier,' Wright said.

One sport Mr. Wichary didn't take to the next level was baseball.

'In Little League, Hans was a pitcher with an ominous presence on the mound,' said Scozzafava, his childhood buddy. 'But he had trouble throwing strikes. I think he found his specialty in other things.

'He was a good friend to a lot of people.'

Survivors include his wife, Jean Chalupsky; daughters, Marlie Couto, 12, and Britta Wichary, 6; mother, Jo Anne Wichary of Oceanside; and father, Hans Wichary of Mission Valley.

Services are scheduled for 2 p.m. Friday at Saint Gregory the Great Catholic Church, 11451 Blue Cypress Drive, San Diego.

Donations are suggested to Stanford Athletics, Stanford University, Stanford, CA 94304.

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