Olin M. Byerly

Date of Birth

November 16th, 1919

Date of Death

December 15th, 2012

Memorial Meeting

Eugene Friends Meeting


Olin M. Byerly, 93, died peacefully of age related causes on December 15, 2012 at Capital Manor, Salem, Oregon. Olin was born November 16, 1919 to Edgar and Olive Mitchell Byerly and grew up with his parents and four sisters on a farm near the Friends Church at Weldon, Iowa. He attended and graduated from William Penn College in 1942 and taught high school science in Wall Lake, Iowa until March 8, 1944. The Selective Service System recognized him as a conscientious objector during World War II and assigned him to work as a Caterpillar tractor operator on a Bureau of Reclamation irrigation project at Trenton, North Dakota. The next year he transferred to nursing responsibilities at Alexian Brothers Hospital near Chicago. He met a visiting nurse, Lucille Williams, at the Methodist Temple. Olin loved to tell the story that, as a starving medical student he frequented the Methodist church where the cafeteria gave out free meal. Lucille and Olin later married on September 14, 1948 in Crystal Falls, Michigan. Olin became an under-graduate student at Northwestern University, a pre-med student at Roosevelt City College, and graduated from University of Illinois Medical School in 1951. He liked to tell of a summer experience, away from studies in Chicago, when he operated a wheat combine for a friend on a ranch near Gate, Oklahoma.

Olin and Lucille settled in Mapleton, Oregon where he had a solo medical practice for two years before moving to Eugene as a successful physician in the River Road Medical Group until retiring in 1989. Lucille was a major support in his practice until illness intervened. He cared lovingly for her throughout her extended illness. Olin studied Edgar Casey's work and healings and used them in his practice. He faithfully attended the annual Edgar Casey gathering at Seabeck as long as he was able. This experience deeply affected his spirituality and beliefs. He, visited India, China and Egypt; and enjoyed his years flying as a private pilot from 1956 to1985.

Olin Byerly was a long-time valued Friend of Eugene Friends Meeting from its earliest beginnings. He and his wife Lucy were faithful members, and raised their four children there.  In 1955, Olin and Lucy hosted a meeting of the then Eugene Preparative Meeting. It was decided to purchase the property at 2274 Onyx St. in Eugene.  This is still the current location.  On June 1st, 1956 Olin was appointed Clerk. Pacific Yearly Meeting approved the Preparative Meeting becoming a Monthly Meeting.  June 17, 1956 was the first meeting For Worship for Business of Eugene Friends Meeting, with Olin as Clerk.  Olin was presiding Clerk at the special Meeting for Worship for Marriage of Barbara Autenreith and Bent Thygesen, July 21, 1956.  It was the first legal marriage in Oregon in an Unprogrammed Friends Meeting.

Over the years, Olin represented Eugene Friends Meeting, first at Pacific Yearly Meeting and later on North Pacific Yearly Meeting’s Ministry and Oversight and Steering Committees; and on Quarterly Meeting’s Ministry and Oversight.  Olin served on Eugene Friends Meeting Building Committee throughout the planning for the new meetinghouse.  They met with the architect and financial officers and saw the project through to completion. Minutes of later years confirm Olin’s dedication as a faithful member, participating on Clearness Committees, as liaison with other congregations and as Clerk.  Throughout, he was a spiritual guide to us all.

On October 16, 2000 Olin and Lucille moved from their beloved friends and Friends Meeting in Eugene to new friends in the Capital Manor retirement community and the Friends Meeting in Salem, Oregon. Olin served on several important committees of Salem Friends, including Ministry and Oversight and the Nominating Committee. He was fond of the children of the meeting, and they enjoyed chatting with him at the rise of meeting. Lucille passed away peacefully November 17, 2010 and Olin followed peacefully on December 15, 2012. Survivors include sons Robert Byerly and Larry Byerly, both of Portland, Oregon; daughters Sandra Olson, Cedarburg, Wisconsin and Betty Dunn, Fond du Lac, Wisconsin plus 10 grand children. Memorial donations may be sent to American Friends Service Committee, 1501 Cherry Street, Philadelphia, PA 19102.