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BYRON F. DEWITT Ph.D. Obituary
Byron F. DeWitt, Ph. D., age 90, of Kansas City, MO, passed away July 23, 2014 at St. Luke's Northland Hospital following a sudden illness. He was born January 20, 1924 in Indianapolis, IN. In 1941, Byron graduated from Central High School in Oklahoma City, and then after serving in World War II, he earned a Bachelor's degree from Penn State University (1948), a Master's degree from Central Missouri State University (1950), and a Ph.D. in Administration/Educational Research from the University of Iowa (1961). Byron served as an administrator with the North Kansas City School District for 32 years, first as principal of Big Shoal Elementary School in 1953, and then at Briarcliff Elementary School, which he helped design and open in 1956. In 1967, he was appointed Director of Research and Development for the district, a position he held until his retirement in 1986. Byron proudly served in the Army Air Force in the North Atlantic and in China/India/Burma during World War II. He was awarded 2 Bronze Stars for his service in the 14th Air Force, 322nd Squadron. In 1954, Byron married Martha Lou Reavis, his "special lady". They enjoyed 57 years of marriage until her death in 2012. They were members of Hillside Christian Church and Old Pike Country Club. Byron was a very devoted husband and father, cherishing his 3 children and his 7 granddaughters. After his retirement, he and Martha traveled extensively, enjoying Europe, Hawaii, Alaska, and Caribbean cruises. He remained very active, always stressing the value of exercise. Up until just 3 years ago, he remained dedicated to his exercise routine at the YMCA in Parkville, where he made many friends and had "quality time" walking with his daughter, Elizabeth. His last 2 years, following Martha's death were spent at Garden Valley Manor, where he again made new friends and entertained the staff with his stories. We are so grateful for the staff's care and attention! The family would also like to extend our sincere gratitude to the medical and nursing staff at St. Luke's Northland Hospital for their kindness and compassion during Byron's last days. In addition to his wife Martha, Byron was preceded in death by his mother and step-father, Eloise and Don King, and his father, Dwight DeWitt. Surviving are his children Elizabeth (Doug) Fricke, Anne (Greg) Rothers, and Tom (Becky) DeWitt, and 7 granddaughters: Lauren and Lia Fricke, Audrey and Alex Rothers, and Makayla, Claire, and Sarah DeWitt. His sister, Fran Mayes of St. Anthony, MN, and his sister-in- law, Caroline Stuerke of Higginsville, MO also survive. A Celebration of Life memorial open house will be held on Friday, August 8, 2014 from 10:30 am to 12:30 pm (short program at 11:30 am) at the Platte County Community Center South (Parkville YMCA), 8875 Clark Ave., Parkville, MO 64152. Memorial contributions in Byron's memory may be made to the Platte County Community Center South. Memories of Byron and condolences to the family may be shared at meyersfuneralchapel.com M
Published in Kansas City Star on Aug. 3, 2014
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