A renowned Tri-Cities professor and wine business expert has died.
Byron Marlowe, 43, died unexpectedly on Dec. 28, according to Washington State University Tri-Cities.
The Fulbright scholar and author was an associate professor of hospitality and wine and beverage business management. He leaves behind his wife Tami and their children Adeline, Brynn and Jonathan.
Marlowe led the Wine Business Management Professional Certificate Program through the WSU Carson College of Business, and was responsible for the international business management course in the Carson College of Business’s online master’s in business administration program.
He also led educational offerings for WSU Tri-Cities’ newly established partnership with the Walter Clore Wine and Culinary Center.
In a letter to staff, Chancellor Sandra Haynes described Marlowe as “passionate about the regional wine and beer industries, always studying and investigating new and innovative ways to improve the customer experience, help local businesses succeed, and raise the caliber of beverages developed and sold both in the Pacific Northwest and internationally.”
Haynes said he was also passionate about teaching and guiding the next generation of professionals entering one of the fastest-growing industries in the region.
Haynes wrote that students described Marlowe as an exceptional mentor and the reason why they got their dream jobs.
One of Professor Marlowe’s students said he was instrumental in his decision to attend WSU and that he had become a mentor, a teacher and a dear friend.
She said many faculty colleagues shared the same sentiment.
Marlowe was named a Don Smith Distinguished Professor in 2020.
The honor helps support a facility member who embodies Smith’s spirit as an outstanding teacher, strong mentor and accomplished industry professional.
Last spring, he traveled to Austria as a Fulbright Program Scholar, spending four months teaching and conducting research at the IMC University of Applied Sciences Krems in Krems an der Donau, Austria.
The experience supported Marlowe’s research into identifying best practices for winery tasting room experiences throughout the world.
He was also the author of an acclaimed book about the industry, “Wine Sales and Distribution: The Secrets of Building a Consultative Sales Approach,” which was named the best wine book for professionals in the U.S. by the International Gourmand Book Fair in 2020.
Marlowe also was involved in the Tri-Cities community, supporting efforts such as the Downtown Pasco Development Authority’s Ponte la Mascara Pasco, or Put on the Mask Pasco.
A GoFundMe fundraiser has been set up for his family, bit.ly/3JE7ROY.
Funeral arrangements have not been made public.