Donald Campbell Dykes of Kent, Ohio, died on December 31, 2022, at the age of 80, following a battle with cancer.
He was born in 1942 in Richmond, Kentucky to Marian and Jimmy Dykes. Donald was an avid lover of golf, Kentucky basketball, and a good scotch. He earned his undergraduate degree in mathematics from Eastern Kentucky University and his PhD in mathematics from the University of Kentucky. Donald will undoubtedly be remembered by the scores of students he taught at Kent State University, where he was a professor of mathematics from 1968 until his second retirement in 2012. An exceptional educator, Donald was committed to making math accessible to all students, and his distinctive, booming Kentucky accent could be heard through the halls of the math department every morning throughout his tenure.
Outside of his time as a professor, Donald loved playing and watching golf. He had opinions on every player and could spend an entire weekend watching a tournament. His other great love in the world of sports was University of Kentucky basketball, which was the last thing he watched before passing—undoubtedly pleased with their most recent win. Every year Donald would put together a pool for the NCAA tournament, even making the brackets by hand in a time before they could be printed from the internet, and everyone from the VFW members to the KSU professors would join in the fun. Additionally, he was known for hosting his famous “Derby Parties” at his home every year for the Kentucky Derby.
Lesser known, though, was the fact that Donald was a sucker for a good love story. From books to movies, he was never ashamed to shed a tear. This quote from his favorite author, Nicholas Sparks, sums up Donald’s outlook on life quite well: “There are moments when I wish I could roll back the clock and take all the sadness away, but I have the feeling that if I did, the joy would be gone as well.”
Donald will be remembered by all, especially his family — wife Laura (Slowikowski); children Jeffery Dykes, Sharla Urchek, Casey (Coretta) and Jimmy (Bethany) Dykes; sister Sally (Boyd) Parke; grandchildren Sarah and Steven Urchek, Joshua Dykes; and many loving nieces, nephews, cousins, and friends. He was preceded in death by his parents Marian and James Dykes and son-in-law Steve Urchek.
The family would like to thank Gardens of Western Reserve Hospice for the quality care they provided to Donald in his final weeks.
A memorial party and service in Richmond, Kentucky will be held at a later date. In lieu of flowers, please send donations, by check, to Gardens of Western Reserve Hospice at 3792 State Road, Cuyahoga Falls, OH 44223.
Arrangements in care of Bissler and Sons Funeral Home and Crematory.