Orthello Vernellan Byers Jr.
November 6, 1920 – March 4, 2018
Buzz was born on November 6, 1920 in Glenwood, Iowa where he and his three siblings grew up on a small family-owned farm and dairy. He completed his high school education in 1939 and enrolled in Peru State College, Peru, Nebraska in 1940. Buzz interrupted his college education to enlist in the US Army Air Corp in June 1942, where he trained in B-17 and B-29 bombers and was then assigned to pilot the B-29 in the 73rd Bomb Wing in Saipan in March 1945. He flew 25 combat missions and 3 supply drop missions to prisoners of war, receiving the Distinguished Flying Cross and the Air Medal with two bronze oak leaf clusters.
Buzz married Marjorie Ann Weiler on November 4, 1945 in Dunbar, Nebraska. He received his diploma from Peru State College in August 1947, then went on to teach and coach basketball in Nebraska City until he was recalled to active duty in 1951 He was assigned to the 325th Bomb Squadron, Fairchild AFB, Spokane Washington flying B-29 and B-36 bombers. In 1953, Buzz was assigned to the B-47 with the 66th Bomb Squadron in Lake Charles, Louisiana. In June 1956, he was released from active duty and then served in the AF Reserves at Ellington AFB, Texas from 1959 until retiring as a Lt. Colonel in 1972.
In addition to his military career he was a project engineer for US Gypsum in Galena Park, Texas from 1956-61 and Physical Education director for the YMCA in Houston, Texas until 1963. He then began teaching Mathematics at the Jr/Sr High School level with HISD until becoming a registrar in 1976 at Furr Junior-Senior High School until retirement in 1985. Buzz and Margie continued to reside in Houston, Texas where they were active in St. John’s Presbyterian Church, delivering flowers, cookies and cakes to residents of nursing homes; volunteering in other church functions; and performing their Ma and Pa comedy routine. In 2007 they moved to Portland, Oregon where they were lovingly cared for by their family.
Buzz was an avid Texas Longhorn fan attending both home and away games since 1982. He loved to travel to visit his children who were living in various places including Texas, Georgia, Mississippi, Alaska, California, Colorado, England, Turkey, and Oregon. Throughout his life he never complained but accepted and faced life’s challenges with courage, strength and good humor. With his positive attitude, he always encouraged his family and friends to do their best and walk with Christ.
Buzz will be remembered for his kind and generous spirit, a faithful disciple of Christ. He is survived by his loving wife of 72 years, Marjorie and their three children, Steven Allen Byers (wife Cheryl) of Pace, Florida; Jane Michele Whittlesey of Dallas, Texas; and Deanna Ellen Hilton (husband Tom) of Portland, Oregon; Grandfather of Ryan Byers (wife Alicia), Marisa Winking (husband Jeff), Kristin Madison (husband Greg) , Nick Whittlesey and Zach Whittlesey; and great-grandfather to 8 (soon to be 9).
Memorial Services to be held at noon on March 13th at First Presbyterian of Dallas, 1835 Young St., Dallas, TX 75201 followed by internment with military honors at 2:15 at DFW National Cemetery, 2000 Mountain Creek Pkwy, Dallas, TX 75211
- Memorial Service Tuesday, March 13, 2018
- Graveside Service Tuesday, March 13, 2018