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:
It is with heavy hearts that we report that our own Dr. Ken Traxler passed on this morning. Ken has been part of Beaver Football for 22 years and has positively influenced thousands of BSU students and athletes over that time. He will be dearly missed. pic.twitter.com/4wdwHaN3Bf
— Bemidji State Football (@BSUBeaversFB) May 6, 2020
Heaven added a special one this morning. Ken Traxler will be missed more than words can express. Such a caring man that would do anything for anyone. RIP Trax.
— Brent Bolte (@CoachBolte) May 6, 2020
Tough, tough news for Beaver Nation. Traxler was an incredible man and mentor to many. BSU and the community will miss him greatly. Rest easy, brother.
— Karson Pike (@KH_Pike) May 6, 2020
The Beaver Offensive Line lost our longest standing and probably most beloved member this morning. Coach Trax was one of the kindest, warmest and fun loving guys you could ever meet. His heart bled green and he will missed greatly. Rest Easy Trax. pic.twitter.com/DKuG8LoLfg
— Ryan Olson (@CoachRyanOlson) May 6, 2020
Photo: Bemidji State University