Bemidji State professor, football coach Ken Traxler dies Wednesday

Bemidji State University and the Bemidji community are mourning the passing of Dr. Ken Traxler, who passed away at the University of Minnesota on Wednesday at the age of 53.

Traxler came to Bemidji in 1997 as a professor in Bemidji State’s Department of Chemistry, eventually holding the position of Department Chair during his time at the school. He also began serving as a volunteer football coach, becoming an official assistant coach four years later while working with the offensive line.

A CaringBridge site was launched for Traxler earlier this week, which detailed his initial visit to the emergency room due to sudden weight gain and shortness of breath on April 21. Significant deterioration due to an infection led to his transfer to the University of Minnesota on May 1.

A graduate of Le Center High School, Traxler majored in chemistry at the University of Minnesota Morris. He played football for UMM as well, eventually working as an assistant defensive coach while finishing his undergraduate studies in 1989. Traxler completed his Ph.D in Chemistry at the University of Denver in 1994.

GoFundMe currently has a fundraiser taking donations for a non-profit “Ken Traxler Memorial Scholarship Fund”. 100% of the donations will be given to graduates from Le Center High School as an educational grant.

Tributes have flowed in across social media from BSU football in honor of Traxler:

Photo: Bemidji State University