Donald Ray Byers was born Sept. 3, 1936, on the family farm one mile north and one mile west of Gage, Okla., to Jesse Fred and Agnes Leora (Crowder) Byers, the fifth of six children. He grew up in the close family ties of the Byers-Crowder family. A cowboy, nurtured by his father, a kind and caring soul, nurtured by his mother.
Don met Kay Hallett when he was posted to Long Island, N. Y., his first posting after he completed basic training in the United States Air Force. They were married on Jan. 26, 1958, and during his 22-year career in the USAF, they were blessed with three wonderful daughters, Donna Kay, Debbie Lynn and Linda Fay.
Don served his country in Thule, Greenland; France, Vietnam; Japan and the U. S., Kay and the children with him on all the accompanied tours. After retiring, Don and family moved to Salinas, Calif., where he worked eight years for Nestle Chocolate (a job this born Chocoholic loved).
During all his career and worldwide travels, the memories of his boyhood home were strong and in 1985, he returned to Gage, once again to enjoy his wide-open spaces, his horses and the cowboy life he loved.
Don started breaking horses at the age of five, under the tutelage of his much-loved father. He grew to young manhood equipped with all the old time, true cowboy skills he needed to earn the accolade, “This man is a cowboy.” After returning to Oklahoma, he bought and broke and sold horses, but one two-year-old Doc Bar colt got his attention and his heart. Speaking of his horse, Catalpa Clark Bar “Cat,” Donnie often remarked, “God saved the best for last for me.” What a great horse, what a great cowboy.
Don and Sharon (Holt) Byers were married after his return to Oklahoma, and they shared every facet of their lives together, from God to family to horses to ranch work to clearing trees on their “East Forty” pasture land.
Don passed away Jan. 6, 2008 at his home in Gage. His parents, his infant sister Lula, his brother LeRoy Fred Byers and brother-in-law Virgil Ray Hughes preceded him in death.
His loving family survived him; his wife Sharon of the home; three daughters and their husbands, Randy and Donna (Byers) Baker, John and Debbie Lynn (Byers) Abesto and Linda Fay (Byers) Novotney; brother and sister-in-law Charles Kenneth and Dixie Lee (Cook) Byers, sister Ruby Irene (Byers) Hughes, brother and sister-in-law Richard Forrest “Frosty” and Evelyn (Thomas) Byers; four grandchildren and six great-grandchildren, numerous nieces, nephews, cousins and untold friends.
Don was loved and respected everywhere he went. His family and his community have lost a precious husband, father, brother and friend.
Funeral services will be conducted by Pastor Rick Floyd of Arnett, from the First Baptist Church in Gage, on Jan. 9, 2008 and interment will follow in the Gage Memorial Cemetery where his parents, grandparents and many loved ones rest. There has been a rejoicing in heaven, welcoming his beloved son home
The Byers family trusted the funeral arrangements to Good Samaritan Funeral Service of Woodward, Okla. Condolences and memories may be shared online at www.johnsonsgoodsamaritanwoodward.com
The family suggests memorials be made to the Gage Baptist Church of the Gage Memorial Cemetery with the funeral home as custodian of the funds.
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