Ronald Franklin Byers of Springfield, Ore., passed away Jan. 5, 2021, at the age of 96 of age-related causes. He was born in Franklin, Ore. on Feb. 4, 1924, to Seth and Gail Byers. Ron grew up in Wendling, Ore. with brother, Dean, and sister, Audrey.
He graduated high school just prior to WWII. Ron joined the Army Air Force, and when the war ended, he got a teaching degree and met and married Lorraine Burton on June 6, 1946 in Multnomah.
Ron is survived by his wife of 74 years, Lorraine, and two daughters, Janet Brusse (Derek) and Denise Houser (Steven). He is also survived by four grandchildren: Micah Brusse (Susie), Heidi Houser Vaubel (Aaron), Josh Houser (Emily), and Jared Houser (Jackie); six great-grandchildren: Isaac and Mariah Brusse; Emily, Kaely, and Ryan Vaubel; and Madison Houser.
Jared Houser (who claims to be Papa’s favorite) has written the following eulogy to his “Papa:”
“The world lost one of the greats today. My grandfather was an amazing man. If I ever get to the point that I’m half the man he was, I’ll consider myself a big success. He was strong in spirit and values; he was patient and wise, caring and productive, calm and brilliant. I remember as a child listening to a pastor who talked about how the dash on our tombstones between the year we are born and the year we die represents our lifetimes … the period we are given in which we will do everything we’re going to do that matters. My grandfather’s “dash” was extraordinary. He served as a pilot in the Second World War, a teacher, school administrator, director of the Lane Community College flight program, realtor, and was a very savvy real estate investor. More important than all of that, he was a great husband and father, a good man, and as I can personally attest, a fantastic grandfather. Despite his numerous impressive achievements as an adult, Papa always spoke most fondly of his time growing up in the hills of a little logging town called Wendling. As best I could tell, his favorite thing to do back then was to grab his ‘shootin’ iron’ and together with his trusty dog, Joe, roam about the hills exploring and shooting targets. I’m sure the first thing Papa did after he passed through the pearly gates was to go catch up with all his loved ones who went to heaven before him … but I have a hard time not thinking that sometime not too long after catching up, Papa’s next move was to get his hands on a ‘shootin’ iron,’ give Joe a whistle, and explore some heavenly hills. It hurts to have lost him, knowing that I’m just not going to meet many people in my lifetime as phenomenal as he was. But, when I look back at his life, the phrase ‘a life well lived’ is the predominant thought in my mind. Thank you for everything, Papa. I love you, and I’ll see you on the other side!”
A memorial service will be planned for a later date.