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Dr. Wilford J. "Bill" Deweese, 91

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Bemidji,Minnesota 56619
Bemidji Pioneer
Dr. Wilford J. "Bill" Deweese, 91
Bemidji Minnesota P.O. Box 455 56619

Dr. Wilford J. "Bill" Deweese, age 91, of Bemidji, MN died Sunday, March 5, 2006 at Goldpine Home, Bemidji.

Memorial services will be held 11:00 AM Monday, March 13, 2006 at First Lutheran Church, Bemidji, with Reverend James Darchuk officiating. Family will greet friends 5:00 PM - 8:00 PM Sunday, March 12, 2006 at Olson-Schwartz Funeral Home, Bemidji. Inurnment will be in Star Cemetery, Dawson, NE later this spring.


Urn Bearers will be his grandchildren: Mitchell Lewandowski, Ann Lewandowski, Claire Lewandowski, Shawn Deweese, Lauren Deweese, Ryan Deweese, Mary Deweese, Kelly Deweese and Timothy Deweese.

Wilford Joel Deweese was born December 28, 1914 in Omaha, NE to Fred and Alice (Towne) Deweese. Attending physician at Bill's birth was his uncle Andrew. Bill grew up and attended schools in Lincoln, NE, graduating from the University of Nebraska in 1936 with a B.S. in Engineering. He received his M.D. degree from the University of Nebraska at Omaha in 1940. He married Rowena Beadle on November 25, 1939 in Lincoln, NE and they moved immediately to New York City where he began a residency in surgery at Kings County Hospital. He joined the U.S. Army during WWII, serving in a M*A*S*H unit in North Africa and Italy. At the end of the war he returned to New York City and completed his residency. In 1946 he, his wife and two oldest children moved to Bemidji, MN where he became a partner at the Bemidji Clinic. During his 30 years of practice he started what is now known as the Mississippi Headwaters Blood Bank, was a member of the American College of Surgeons and was a past president of the Minnesota State Medical Association. He was often called as an expert witness at medical trials, and used his home workshop to create medical devices for his patients. He retired in 1977 after taking a one-year sabbatical to travel with his wife and youngest daughter. The joys in his life were his family, his yard at 2306, his woodshop where he put his skills to use making beautiful furniture and toys and time spent traveling with friends or family - always on or near the water.

Bill is survived by six children: Dr. Joel (Mary) Deweese, Santa Barbara, CA, Marshall (Robin Fies) Deweese, Yarmouth, MA, Sarah (Doug) Lewandowski, Bemidji, MN, Wilford (Chris) Deweese, West Melbourne, FL, Dr. Samuel (Dr. Janet Bergeron) Deweese, Waconia, MN and Jennifer Deweese, Eagan, MN; nine grandchildren, three great grandchildren: Aidan and Vivian Lewandowski and Damien Deweese; sister: Barbara (George) Day, Lincoln, NE and his granddaughter-in-law, Tess Lewandowski.

He was preceded in death by his parents, his wife Rowena Deweese, and his sister Martha Ivaldi.

In lieu of flowers memorials may be directed to Ours To Serve House of Hospitality, 416 Irvine Ave. NW, Bemidji, MN; North Country Regional Hospital; and National Wildlife Foundation.

Online guest book at

Pioneer staff reports