Tribute to Reverend W. Ross Byers

Words Prepared for Dad’s Funeral Yesterday

Tom Byers
3 min readJan 8, 2024
The Reverend William Ross Byers in the 1990s

Introductory Remarks:

My father lived the Christian values he preached, doing what he could to uplift the people around him. He practiced honesty, kindness, courtesy, love, and faith. To share an idea of his outlook on life, I’ll read some of his words now from a sermon, a video, and three letters.

From his Sermon “Hopefully Awaiting the Dawn”

“We need an anchor of the soul to enable us to ride out the storms of life. Christian hope is that anchor, and it has this blessed function: it soothes and calms and cheers the mind in the midst of storm and trouble.”

From a Video We Made for His Descendants

Referring to his last five years of preaching, he said, “I accepted invitations for just one Sunday here and there until 2007. At that time, I was eighty years old, and that was sixty years after first preaching the gospel representing Westminster College and representing as best I could my Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.”

From Letters to Me in the 1990s

From a letter sent on Halloween: “The cock on our weathervane has a white comb today, and the cupola atop the garage roof bears a 3-inch blanket of hoary crystals. A few minutes ago, I stood by a south window, sipping spiced cider made steamy-hot in your microwave oven and watching a pair of doves as they traversed a section of the back yard in search of an afternoon snack…” He then brought a snack out for them.

“Snow has been falling almost continuously for approximately 24 hours… As I stood on the lawn and poured seeds into the feeders, I was impressed by the THUD, THUD, THUD, THUD percussive sounds produced by large clumps of heavy, wet snow falling from the high limbs of trees and hitting the ground in syncopated rhythm.”

From a letter written when he was 66 years old: “My plans for hiking in the summer of 1993 include the intention to backpack in VIRGINIA, northward on the [Appalachian Trail] from Chester Gap to the Bears Den Hostel near Snickers Gap. That’s the only section of the [trail] between WAYNESBORO, PA and WAYNESBORO, VA which I have not yet hiked.”

From a letter with a story about how his father and a friend, when they were teenagers in 1907, had given two girls a ride home from an evening church service: “Unlike the Amish buggies which you have seen, Tom, the Byers buggy had only one seat and it was narrow. So, the girls sat on the boys’ laps…

“When eventually they arrived at the girls’ home, as was customary in those days, the boys were invited to step into the farmhouse for a few minutes. They accepted the invitation. Dad carefully tied the horse to the hitching post. He made the knot quite secure because he knew the Byers family’s buggy-horse was fidgety and high-spirited…

“After a while, one of the girls looked out a window and exclaimed that Dad’s horse had gotten loose and was walking away with the buggy behind it… [She] explained that probably it had been released by a… lad who had tried in vain to date her [earlier] that evening. The rejected suitor evidently was in the buggy… [When Dad came out, the suitor] whipped the horse into a gallop to effect an escape.”

He later found the horse tied to a post at the town’s main intersection.

Family Photo from the 1960s

The pastor suggested I shorten the tribute, so I left out the first two of the three excerpts from letters to keep the service from going too long.



Tom Byers

Seeking and often finding sacred love, peace, joy, confidence, and gratitude.