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John D. Bressler

John Davis Bressler, 88, of Bemidji, died October 13, 2012 at his home.

Mr. Bressler’s memorial service is being planned for next summer.

He was born October 20, 1923 in Lodi, Ohio, the son of John and Gladys (Battles) Bressler.

His youngest years were spent in Ohio, around the area of Bowling Green and Wellington. During the Depression the family moved to Carson, Iowa where his father opened a hatchery business. As a teenager, John contracted osteo myalitis, a form of polio, and was critically ill for several years.

In later life he liked to quip that the good thing about being sick for so long was that he got to be part of three senior classes and so he got invited to more school reunions. John graduated high school from Carson and continued his education at the University of Iowa where he went on to earn a Master’s Degree. It was at UI that John developed his life-long passion for public education.

He was an English teacher in Marathon, Iowa before becoming County Superintendent in Grundy County, Iowa. It was there that he met the love of his life, Margaret Sperry, whom he married on February 17, 1960.

Also in 1960, John accepted a position with the Bemidji School District. Initially principal at JW Smith Elementary for many years, John also worked as Director of Elementary Education and was active in consolidating area schools into the district.

He worked many long hard hours overseeing the design and construction of Horace May Elementary. “Mr. Bressler” was a hands-on, no-nonsense kind of leader. Fun and fair, he knew every student’s name and developed many fans through the years from staff, student and parents alike.

He retired in 1985 after being principal of Lincoln Elementary for 10 years. It was not uncommon in retirement for neighborhood girls to call upon Mr. Bressler for a little chat and one of Margaret’s delicious cookies.

John was active in community organizations through the years including the Parks Commission, the Isaak Walton League, Boy Scouts and the Lions Club. He was instrumental in the founding of Northern Minnesota Public TV (Lakeland Public TV) and served on its board of directors for over two decades.

He was a dedicated fisherman and enjoyed reading, watching sports and having a good argument about politics. John was also a life-long member of Sigma Phi Epsilon fraternity.

He is survived by his children, Bruce, John and Becky. He was preceded in death by his parents John and Gladys, his sister Cheryl and his wife Margaret.

Memorials may be directed to Sanford Hospice or the Bemidji Education Association.

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