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Donald W. Bye, 81

Donald W. Bye, 81, of Bemidji, died Dec. 21, 2008, at his home in Mesa, Ariz., of cancer.

A memorial gathering will be held near his winter home in Mesa. A celebration of life will be held in the summer of 2009 in Bemidji.

He was born in Fargo, N.D., and as an infant was adopted and raised by Clarence and Blanche Bye in Grand Forks, N.D. He served in the Navy as a pharmacist mate in World War II. On June 20, 1947, he married a University of North Dakota classmate, Vivian Ulvedal of Grand Forks. He continued at UND, earning his Bachelor of Science in education. He began his teaching career in a one-room schoolhouse in Grand Forks County, returning to UND to obtain his master's degree in education in 1953.

In 1954, he became a professor of elementary education at Bemidji State Teacher's College, supervising student teachers at the Laboratory School and later teaching professional education courses at Bemidji State University. In 1957, he worked toward his Ph.D. at Colorado State College in Greeley. He retired from BSU in 1989. During his tenure at BSU, he enjoyed deep and long-lasting friendships with his colleagues, staff and students.

He was a member of the Bemidji Lions, VFW, Sons of Norway and First Lutheran Church. He was also a Boy Scout leader and a lobbyist on behalf of BSU teachers, and served on the Bemidji Planning Commission. He was an outdoorsman and enjoyed fishing, hunting, golfing and riding his motorcycle.

He is survived by his wife; children, Greg Bye of Geyersville, Calif., Jeff Bye of Kirkland, Wash., Steve Bye of Traverse City, Mich., Jean (Bye) Oplinger of Seattle, Wash., and Mary Beth (Bye) Wressell of Seattle; and nine grandchildren. He was preceded in death by his parents and sister, Carol Hill.

In lieu of flowers, the Bye family requests memorials to Hospice of the Valley, 1510 E. Flower St. Phoenix, AZ 85014, or North Country Home Care & Hospice, 3525 Pine Ridge Ave. NW, Bemidji, MN 56601.