Students benefit from CFCC fund in memory of long-time teacher
A desire to impact students in the grade which their late mother taught led a Crawford County family to establish an endowment fund with the Community Foundation of Crawford County.
Proceeds from the Alma I. and James (Wilson) Bye fund are distributed to third-grade classes in the county’s three elementary schools each year.
Checks were awarded Aug. 24 this year with the couple’s son, James W. Bye, making the presentation at South Crawford Elementary. Helping accept the check was third-grader Alayah Riley, Alma and Wilson Bye’s great-granddaughter.
James Bye noted his parents’ oldest great-grandchild helped accept a check many years ago when he was in third grade at Marengo Elementary School.
This year, each county elementary received $326.98 to be used by third-grade teachers to purchase classroom supplies.
James Bye said he wanted to see the endowment established because “I can remember when Mom had to use her own resources over the years, as many teachers still do today, to help with school supplies for the students they love and want to help succeed in life.”
James Bye said his parents were married June 24, 1936, and lived in Crawford County all their lives.
Alma Bye started as an elementary school teacher in 1940, teaching in several one-room schools throughout the southern part of Crawford County. When the couple started their family (they also had a daughter, Jeanie Bye McCoy), she stopped teaching to dedicate her time to her family and help her husband on the farm. They first lived at Archibald Falls near Alton and later moved to Shafer Ridge, between Leavenworth and Marengo.
After Wilson Bye suffered health problems with a heart attack in the late 1950s (prior to modern-day heart surgery discoveries), Alma Bye completed her education degree to meet current standards and started teaching at West Fork, grades 1 through 5, in 1956.
In 1962, she taught third grade at Marengo Elementary School, moving the next year to the third grade at Leavenworth Elementary. She retired in 1979.
Wilson Bye passed away in November 1965, and Alma died in December 2001.
The Alma I. and Wilson Bye fund was established Dec. 18, 2002, and has been awarding funds to third-grade classes in the county ever since. Because this is an endowed fund, the impact will last forever.