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Don Dwyer '59 July 15, 2019 9:30 AM updated: July 15, 2019 9:32 AM

Getz Funeral Home obituary
1410 E Bowman Ave.
Las Cruces, NM 88001-3001
(575) 526-2419
Fax: (575) 526-7944

Donald Dean Dwyer

Donald Dean Dwyer, 84, passed away Thursday, July 11, 2019 after a long experience with dementia.

Don was born December 28, 1934 in Hugoton, Kansas. He grew up during the Dust Bowl in southwestern Kansas, sharing family responsibilities with his mother, a seamstress, following the Great Depression. He started earning his own money at age 10 and garnered a sports scholarship to Fort Hays State University, where he achieved world class honors, running the 400-meter hurdles, even qualifying for the 1956 Olympics. He turned, instead, to academics and Marie Elder, with whom he was married for 63 years.

Don graduated with his PhD in Range Management from Texas A&M, and became a full professor in the field, including a 7-year stint at NMSU and a 14-year position as department head at Utah State University. At the heart of his academic passion were the plants of New Mexico’s deserts. For him, these plants represented stalwart sturdiness, innate lessons regarding conservation, and life where many see desolation.

Don found joy in sharing regular rounds of golf, a good cup of strong black coffee, and a fine glass of wine with good friends. He will be remembered for his dry wit, stinging sarcasm, devotion to Wall Street News analysis, and daily answer to the “How are you?” question with a boisterous “I’m great!”

Don is survived by Marie; son Dane and his wife Kimberly; son Eric and his husband Benjamin Baez, as well as their two children Daniel and Maria.

The family thanks all who contributed to Don’s well-being and happiness, as well as the abundant assistance during the final difficult years. In lieu of flowers, the family asks that donations in Don’s name be made toward Alzheimer’s and dementia research, namely at

A memorial service will be held Wednesday, July 17, 2019 at 10:30 am at the New Mexico Farm & Ranch Heritage Museum, 4100 Dripping Springs Road.

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