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William John Humphrey

Jul 21, 2013 - Staff

William John Humphrey died suddenly at his home in Lander early on Monday, July 8, 2013. He was 59 years old.

Cremation has taken place, and celebration of life services will be held a later date in Lander and in Ohio.

Born in Carbondale, Pa., and Oct. 24,1953, the first child of Ardis and Harold Humphrey, he grew up in the rural Lackawanna 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," the family said.

After grade school, he attended prep school at Wyoming Seminary in Wilkes Barre, Pa. He then attended Mount Union College in Alliance, Ohio, where is received his science education degree, was a Deans Scholar and outstanding athlete.

He went on to Cornell University, in Ithaca, N.Y., and Kent State in Ohio, and then received his Ph.D 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," the family said. "In 1976, 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, Ohio and National Science Teachers Association, holding the Ohio presidents position for one year.

Mr. Humphrey was a keynote speaker at numerous national science conventions, and a recipient of several governor's awards for his accomplishments in teaching.

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 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," the family said.

In 1986 he met Peggy Jacobs Fross in those mountains, and they were married in 1988, in Atlantic City. 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," the family said.

"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 his wife, 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 Phoenix, 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.

See an oline guest book at: www.HudsonsFuneralHome.com.

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