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Houghton—Warren Robert Byerly, a long-time resident of Houghton, died on Thursday, June 24, 2021, at Einstein Medical Center in Montgomery County, Pennsylvania. On September 2, 1955, he married Marilyn Tucker who predeceased him on August 11, 2002.
Son of missionary parents, Robert and Jesse Glockler Byerly, Warren was born on August 2, 1924, in Beirut, Lebanon. Warren grew up speaking French, Arabic and English. The family lived in Sidon in the “house by the sea.” Fond childhood memories included swimming in the Mediterranean Sea, flying his kite on the flat roof of his family’s home, summer vacations in the Lebanese mountains, and eating Mediterranean foods. His love of kites continued into his adult years, flying his homemade kites at the Houghton airstrip.
At the age of eight, Warren attended boarding school located 30 miles north in Beirut. It was here he discovered his love for music and the violin. He was often asked to play for church services and special events with his wife, Marilyn accompanying him on the piano.
At the age of 15, his family left Lebanon and came to the United States. They experienced blackouts on the ship as they traveled across the Atlantic Ocean, arriving two days before the start of WWII. A year later his parents returned to Lebanon and Warren stayed behind to attend Stony Brook School for Boys on Long Island until graduation.
Though not thinking of himself as “college material”, close family friends encouraged and arranged for him to attend Houghton College, graduating at age 29. In 1956, Warren became an Allegany County social worker. In 1960, he was appointed to become the county’s first probation officer. Then from 1968 until 1985 when he retired, he was a probation officer for Cattaraugus County. On occasion, he brought a probationer home while waiting for an appropriate placement to open.
In 1964, Warren decided to buy a pop-up camper and the family enjoyed many wonderful vacations together. Each summer he would add a new improvement to the camper, and it soon became a deluxe pop-up camper. He enjoyed watching tennis, playing table games, writing, and photography. Warren was also an avid reader, interesting storyteller, and writer. He wrote a short note about each book he read including his reaction to it. He wrote several articles for the local paper and poems about his days in Lebanon. He committed several books of the Bible and long passages to memory, including Romans and Hebrews, following a monthly review plan to keep them fresh in his mind.
He began running in his 40’s. In his 90’s, he kept his habit of keeping fit, religiously starting his mornings running/walking at the Houghton College indoor track.
In April 2002, Houghton College dedicated their new carillon to Warren and Marilyn Byerly. Warren volunteered many hours servicing the old carillon and researching a new one. After retirement, Warren was treasurer for the Cemetery Association and a local fire department.
Surviving are two daughters, Brenda (Robert) Zimmerman of Norristown, Pennsylvania, Barbara (James) Caley of Coatesville, Pennsylvania, three grandchildren, Benjamin, Karissa, and Rachel (Jonathan) and several nieces and nephews. He is predeceased by four brothers and sisters: Betty (Tom) Davies, Margaret Mae, Donald (Kathryn) Byerly, and Anne (Charles) Moore.
A memorial service will be held on Sunday, August 15, 2021 at 3:00 pm in the Houghton Wesleyan Church. Rev. Dr. Wesley Oden will officiate. Burial will be in Mt. Pleasant Cemetery, Houghton.
Funeral arrangements are under the direction of the Kopler-Williams Funeral Home, 21 N Genesee Street, Fillmore.
Memorials may be made to Houghton Wesleyan Church, Houghton, New York.
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