Dr. Ken Traxler, 53, of Bemidji died Wednesday, May 6, 2020 at Fairview Hospital in Minneapolis. Memorial service at St. Phillips Church in Bemidji on August 16 at 2pm.
Ken was born on July 31, 1966 in Le Sueur to John and Mary (Hankins) Traxler. He was a graduate of Le Center High School and University of Minnesota -Morris (UMM). At UMM Ken majored in chemistry and played football for the “Mighty Cougars”. Ken was loved by all as he easily made friends with arguably the entire UMM Campus- Everyone from the janitor who cleaned the weight room, Chuck the campus cop, students in every walk of life, faculty members in all disciplines as well as Chancellor Imholte himself. Ken finished up his undergrad at UMM spending the last couple of his years as an assistant defensive coach for the Cougars. He picked up rugby at the University of Denver while completing his PH.D. in Chemistry.
Ken enjoyed a productive 25+ year career as a Professor of Chemistry at Bemidji State University. While teaching Biochemistry, Principles of Chemistry, General Chemistry, Criminalistics, Biochemical Toxicology, specializing in biochemistry and was chair of the department for nine of those years. Admissions and the athletic department knew he would gladly help them promote BSU and in that role he spoke with and provided 100’s of students tours of the chemistry department.
His BSU work was not confined to the classroom or laboratory. Ken was a BSU football coach for 22 years achieving 154 wins (second most among BSU football history) and this was as a volunteer! He was one of the founders and early president of Beaver Pride, an organization that provides scholarships for BSU athletes. Ken received recognition for his giving as the Beaver Pride Volunteer of the Year and he was a recipient of BSU Alumni Foundation Builder’s Society during their 2018 Gala.
Ken’s philanthropy was not confined to BSU. He has been a long-time member of the Elks Lodge 1052 serving as an Exalted Ruler and Director of The Elks Hoop Shoot. He was a member of the Bemidji Lions Club. He even served as the University of MN-Morris alumni president.
Ken is survived by his brother, Marty (Betty) Traxler of Torreon Mexico; sister, Megan (Matt) Holicky of Le Center and their children, Josh, Caleb, Noah, Zach and Elizabeth.
Ken is preceded in death by his parents.
Arrangements are with the Le Center Funeral Home. 507-357-6116. On-line condolences may be left at www.lecenterfuneralhome.com.