William "Bill" John Humphrey
passed away suddenly at his home in Lander, Wyo., early on July 8, 2013. He was 59 years old. Born in Carbondale, Pa, Oct. 24, 1953, the first child of Ardis and Harold Humphrey. He grew up in the rural Lacawana County, mostly spending his time in the woods, meadows, and fishing at every opportunity. His love and passion for nature and learning started at an early age. After grade school, he attended prep school at Wyoming Seminary in Willksberry, Pa. He then attended Mount Union College in Alliance, Ohio, where he received his Science Education degree, was a Deans Scholar, and outstanding athlete. He went on to Cornell University, in Ithica, N.Y., and Kent State in Ohio, and then received his PHD in Plant Taxonomy from Ohio State University. His hunger and thirst for knowledge was never ending, and his passion for teaching was apparent in everything he did. In 1975, he began his journey as a phenomenal teacher in West Lafayette, Ohio, at Ridgewood Schools, teaching Science. He retired after 37 years of dedication and distinguished service to his profession. He dedicated himself to students and colleagues, with tenacity, humor, knowledge, passion for the natural world, and constantly striving for the rights of humanity. He was active in his school organizations, the Teachers Union, State and National Science Teachers Association, holding the Ohio Presidents position for one year. Bill was a keynote speaker at numerous national science conventions, and a recipient of several Governor's awards for his accomplishments in the teaching field. Thousands of science students participated in his Science Fairs, hundreds continuing on to district and state competition, winning prestigious awards. He was the Naturalist at the Inn at Honey Run, in Millersburg, Ohio, for many years, bringing his love of nature to guests through beautiful slide presentations, nature walks, and knowledge of the outdoors he loved. The Wind River Mountains was his classroom and university, as well as Yellowstone and the Tetons. In 1986 he met Peggy Jacobs Fross in those mountains, and they were married in 1988, in Atlantic City, Wyo. They brought four children together, and began their family in Dover, Ohio. Sunny, Matthew, Cache and Bethany were the center of his life, and his dedication to his family never failed. He always put others first, he was observant and in tune with both nature and humanity, he was fearless and passionate, he would do anything for anyone, he was a story teller, historian, coach, competitor, provider, and never gave up on anything. He could sometimes make the impossible happen. After his retirement in 2011, he came to Lander and was a compassionate, loving caregiver to his in-laws, helping Peggy take care of them until their deaths in 2012. He also made many trips to Pennsylvania to be with his mother.
He was preceded in death by his father, Harold Humphrey and in-laws, Donald and Florence Jacobs of Lander. He is survived by his wife, Peggy Humphrey of Lander, daughter, Sunny Stecker and husband, Leger of Pheonix, son, Cache Fross and Mati Snodgrass of Lander, Bethany Humphrey of Denver, son, Matthew Humphrey of Marysville, Ohio, and two grandsons, Tucker and Sufjan. Also his mother, Ardis Humphery and sister, Ann Humphrey of Carbondale, Pa.
A Celebration of Life Ceremony will be held Saturday, Aug. 17 at 3 p.m. at the West Lafayette United Methodist Church, 120 W. Union Ave., West Lafayette, Ohio. In lieu of flowers, a scholarship fund is being established in Bill's name to help others pursue a career in science and education. Donations can be made to the William "Bill" Humphrey Scholarship Fund, in care of the Home Loan Savings Bank, PO Box #2, West Lafayette, OH 43845. On-line guest book: www.HudsonsFuneralHome.com.
Published in The Times Reporter on Aug. 7, 2013