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Obituary: Bybee, Norman Jr. “Rees”

Sun., Dec. 15, 2013

Age 91

BYBEE, Norman Jr. “Rees” March 20, 1922 - December 8, 2013 Loving father, grand-father, great-grandfather and husband to wives and partners; WWII Veteran, businessman, well-read raconteur and a great guy who enjoyed a lively, intelligent conversation until the last page of the last chapter of his honorably lived life.

Born in Sacramento, California to Norman Rees Bybee, Sr. and Ann Millon Bybee, he was the only child of these two California natives with family histories extending back generations as settlers of the West.

Rees made history of his own, like many young men and women who rushed to serve their country at the onset of WWII.

He left his studies at Sacramento Junior College and joined the Navy.

He served in the Pacific as a torpedo man on PT326 under the command of Captain Ken Molloy.

The bond of mutual respect between these two men led to being tapped into the newly formed Office of Strategic Services, the predecessor agency to the Central Intelligence Agency.

It was at the culmination of many months of preparation for a high risk mission in the Pacific Theater that the war ended.

Ken Molloy returned to law and Manhasset, New York (eventually becoming a New York Supreme Court Justice) and Rees married Marie Dalecki, of Wilmington, Delaware, who was on active service with the WAVES in Washington, D.C.

The groom and his bride settled in California where they raised five children in the San Joaquin Valley.

Rees’s business endeavors included a family-owned recreation center, the North Maple Plunge in Fresno, California where families enjoyed respite and great swimming fun while the valley summers blazed.

His professional career also included that of cotton merchant and corporate representative for Schenley Industries and the Glass Container Corporation.

After retiring, Rees continued to enjoy life in the California communities of Lodi, Carmel, and Pacific Grove until he moved to Coeur d’Alene, Idaho in 2004.

Golf and travel enriched his life.

He maintained lifelong friendships with those who served with him in WWII and made friends wherever he lived or traveled.

Rees was predeceased by his first wife, Marie and mother of their five children; his second wife, Ruth; and his love of many years, Shirley Eljenholm.

A third marriage ended in divorce.

The Chinese adage that describes a happy man as he who leaves the earth before his children characterizes Norman Rees Bybee’s passing for he is survived by all of his children and their families: Mariann Bybee Bethke (Ken), Coeur d’Alene, ID, Lynda Bybee, Los Angeles, CA, Norman Rees Bybee III, San Francisco, CA, Kristine Finley (Howard), Hurricane, West Virginia, Jon Bybee, Sacramento, CA; six grandchildren, Juliann and Laura Bethke, Barrett Grazioso and USAF Sergeant Max Dane, Ann and Karen Finley; and four great-grandchildren, Jessica, Thomas, Sophia and Gia.


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