Betsy Cromer Byars, 91, loving wife of 69 years to Edward Ford Byars, died peacefully on Feb. 26, 2020 in Seneca, S.C.
She was the daughter of George Guy Cromer and Nan Aline Rugheimer Cromer, of Anderson, S.C.
Betsy Byars was born Aug. 7, 1928 in Charlotte, N.C. She attended Queens College and graduated in 1950 with a bachelor’s degree in English. That same year she married the love of her life, Edward Ford Byars.
They began their life together in Clemson, S.C. and eventually moved to Morgantown, where they raised their family and lived for 20 years. They moved back to Clemson in 1980, then retired to Seneca, S.C. in 1990.
While her children were young, Betsy Byars began a writing career that would last a lifetime. She started with articles for Saturday Evening Post, Look, TV Guide, and women’s magazines, then moved on to writing children’s novels, publishing over 65 books and receiving numerous awards, including: a Newbery Medal (1971), a National Book Award (1981), an Edgar Award (1991), a Regina Medal from the Catholic Library Association for the body of her work (1987), S.C. Academy of Authors Literary Hall of Fame, as well as many state children’s book awards. Her books were translated into over 20 languages and are still being enjoyed by children around the world.
Besides writing, her creativity spilled over into many other areas, including sewing, knitting and silk screening. She was an avid reader, devouring four to five books a week. She participated in her husband’s love of flying and in 1985 earned her own pilot’s license. She had many dogs in her lifetime and loved each one.
She was known for her generous nature, infectious laughter, cheerful disposition, clever wit and her ability to tell a great story. She loved her family, and her children were a great joy.
She is survived by her four children: Laurie Myers (Michael), of Augusta, Ga., Betsy Duffey (Bill), of Atlanta, Nan Byars (Don Boekelheide), of Charlotte, N.C, Guy Ford Byars (Nellie), of Cincinnati; and her 11 grandchildren, Amy Myers Martinez (Dario), Alan Myers (Eliza), Paul Myers (Shannon), Charles Duffey (Rebecca), Scott Duffey (Susan), Anna Boekelheide, Ben Boekelheide, Angela Byars, Edgar Byars; and nine great-grandchildren.
In lieu of flowers donations can be made to Talking Books Services, sctalkingbook.org or the Oconee Humane Society, oconeehumane.org.