Betsy Cromer Byars
1928 - 2020
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Betsy Cromer Byars

Seneca - Betsy Cromer Byars, 91, loving wife of 69 years to Edward Ford Byars, died peacefully on February 26, 2020 in Seneca, SC.

She was the daughter of George Guy Cromer and Nan Aline Rugheimer Cromer of Anderson, SC.

Betsy Byars was born August 7, 1928 in Charlotte, NC. 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, SC and eventually moved to Morgantown, WV, where they raised their family and lived for 20 years. They moved back to Clemson in 1980, then retired to Seneca, SC 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), SC 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 4-5 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 4 children: Laurie Myers (Michael) of Augusta, GA, Betsy Duffey (Bill) of Atlanta, GA, Nan Byars (Don Boekelheide) of Charlotte, NC, Guy Ford Byars (Nellie) of Cincinnati, OH; 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, or the Oconee Humane Society,

Please visit or Duckett-Robinson Funeral Home & Cremations, Central - Clemson Commons for service information.

To Plant Memorial Trees in memory, please visit our Sympathy Store.
Published in The Greenville News from Feb. 27 to Feb. 28, 2020.
No memorial events are currently scheduled. To offer your sympathy during this difficult time, you can now have memorial trees planted in a National Forest in memory of your loved one.
Memories & Condolences
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22 entries
October 8, 2020
I have only just learned now in Oct 2020 of Betsy Byers passing. As a young boy growing up in England I devoured her books, so full of understanding and wisdom and that special ingredient - Soul. My condolences to her family and friends, that she lived a long and fruitful life and was beloved by people all over the world that only knew her through her writing I hope is some consolation to you.
Robert Ryan
September 17, 2020
Just today, I was interacting with someone about our favorite childhood books. I shared that my favorite was Clementine, by Betsy Byers and I actually had it in my safety deposit box as an heirloom. So off to the internet I went and found of her sad passing here. To her children, I would love to share info as this book my siblings received very long ago, as my family was from Anderson SC and Seneca are. So precious are the memories from your mother that I would have her first signed book to us in my safety deposit box. I wish I could reach out to you today, so I'm doing through this site to share with you how special your mother was to touch so so many for their entire life!
Susan S.
April 6, 2020
Laurie.... I was saddened to hear of you Mom's passing. I only had the pleasure of meeting her many years ago, and I remember her receiving the Newberry Award when we still attending Clemson. She is an excellent example of a " live very well lived". I hope this message finds you, Michael, and your family all doing well. Take care, God bless....Ben Sullivan
Ben Sullivan
March 26, 2020
Laurie, I was sorry to see that your beloved mother has died. I remember hearing about how much fun she was when your parents lived in Clemson and were friends with some of my parents' friends. I met her once or twice when we were roommates at Clemson, and she was very kind. I hope you and all your loved ones are keeping well.
Carolyn Bigger Lattimore
Carolyn Lattimore
March 15, 2020
On behalf of the Board of Governors of the SC Academy of Authors, I wish to express our sadness at Mrs. Byars' passing and offer our condolences to her family. It was with great respect for her work and appreciation for her joyful outreach to children that she was inducted into the Academy's Literary Hall of Fame in 2016. It was a delight to meet Laurie and Betsy, who accepted the award in their mother's absence, and hear of the special relationship they had with her. It is more than fitting that Mrs. Byars was inducted into the Academy. She is a treasure.

Marybeth Evans, Board of Governors, SC Academy of Authors
Marybeth Evans
March 12, 2020
I'm so sorry. My sincere sympathy to all the family. We enjoyed knowing Betsy and Ed during their time in Morgantown. She was a lovely person.
Helen Whitesides Lindsay
March 10, 2020
As graduate students at WVU, we remember, fondly, the wonderful times we shared with Ed, Betsy and the children at social functions in Morgantown. Our grandchildren cherish her books, that she graciously dedicated to each one. Our thoughts and prayers are with Ed and the family at this difficult time.
Walt & Edie Castro
March 5, 2020
"Please accept our heartfelt sympathy for your loss, We are really sorry to hear about this, May God be with you and your family in this difficult time! West Virginia University- Mechanical and Aerospace Department Staff and Faculty
Kande Brandt
March 3, 2020
So sorry for your loss. Her books were enjoyed by my child and my students.
Pamela Frady
March 2, 2020
Nan and family,
Your mother was always so kind and a wonderful, gifted writer. I cherish childhood memories in Morgantown.
Camille Caruso Weiss
March 2, 2020
It was my pleasure and privilege to spend a little bit of time with Mrs. Byars in the last few months. She had the most beautiful smile! Thinking of Dr. Byars and the rest of the family in the days ahead and hoping that you have comfort and peace in your grief.
Kerry Leeper Brock
March 2, 2020
Thank you to Betsy Byars for the wonderful books, which brought great joy and hours of entertainment to my daughter's childhood. Thank you to the entire Byars family for sharing your wife, mother, and grandmother with the rest of the world.
V. Binkerd
March 2, 2020
A great lady. Very sorry for your loss.
Glenn Holden
March 1, 2020
Laurie and Micheal,
Sorry for your loss. Keeping you in thoughts and prayers. Love, Fran and Gary Richardson
Fran Richardson
February 29, 2020
When I was an elementary teacher in Gwinnett County, Ga, Betsy visited our school for an "Author Talk". Betsy was a great speaker who imparted her love of reading to our students. Afterwards, she took the time to walk the hallways, which were full of children's drawings about her books. She loved the display on my classroom door and spent some extra time in my classroom. Her love of books and children was evident to all.
Nancy Craddock
February 29, 2020
Loved her books
Lorna Kee
February 29, 2020
I remember meeting Betsy many years ago. She was charming and friendly and I was star struck. My middle school students loved reading her books. I had to replace many copies due to wear and tear.
Teri Lesesne
February 29, 2020
May the family be blessed with God's love. I'm sorry for your loss. She wrote many wonderful books.
Patricia Cruzan
February 29, 2020
I am so sorry for your loss. My thoughts and prayers are with all of you at this sad time.
Patricia Holcombe
February 28, 2020
NaN and family. So sorry for your loss. Keep her alive in your heart with your wonderful memories. God Bless. Libby Bell Davis.
Libby Davis
February 28, 2020
Laurie, Michael and family, sending our deepest sympathy and love on the loss of Laurie's wonderful mother. Please know that we hold you close in our hearts. Love, Libby and Rhett
Rhett & Libby Myers
February 27, 2020
Thank you for sharing her wonderful story with us. I know she was the joy of your lives and a blessing to you all.
Janet Pierce
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