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Published: Thursday, 10/21/2004

Industrial engineer received his master's degree from UT

William F. Bye, 77, one of the first industrial engineering students to receive a master's degree from the University of Toledo, who went on to a management career with automotive-related suppliers, died Tuesday in his Monclova Township home from complications of a brain tumor.

He was a Toledo native but lived for a number of years in Muskegon, Mich., where he retired in the late 1980s as financial manager of SPX Corp., daughter Rhonda Bye Popejoy said.

Mr. Bye early in his career was a junior industrial engineer at Textileather Corp. and became a product estimator at the Spicer Manufacturing Division of Dana Corp. He used his skill in mathematics and engineering to broaden his responsibilities. By 1963, he was assistant director of international operations of Champion Spark Plug Co. and helped set up plants in Europe and South America.

"My father had a brilliant mathematical mind," his daughter said. "He could look at the numbers and financials of a plant and could pinpoint where problems and issues were."

Mr. Bye's parents were British and lived in Toledo when he was born. The family returned to England when he was 4. He spoke often of his World War II experiences, being evacuated from London as bombs fell. He often was the family bicycle messenger, carrying notes between relatives who had no other means of communication.

He had an apprenticeship with a General Electric-affiliated firm in Britain and received a bachelor of science in engineering degree. He returned to the United States in 1948.

He attended UT at night and received all A's while working days. In 1954, he became one of the first UT industrial engineering students to receive a master of science degree.

He was a longtime member of Damascus Lodge, F&AM. In retirement, he was active in the National Association of Investors Corp.

Mr. Bye's first wife was the former Velma Spencer. The marriage ended in divorce.

Surviving are his wife, Nannie, whom he married in 1985; daughters, Darlene Scott and Rhonda Bye Popejoy; son, Mark Bye; stepdaughter, Mary Eberst, and five grandchildren.

There will be no visitation. Masonic services will be at 11 a.m. Saturday in the Reeb Mortuary, followed by memorial services.

The family suggests tributes to the UT Foundation in memory of Mr. Bye, which will be applied to engineering student scholarships.

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