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1942 - 2014

David E. Byer, M.D. (ANES ’73)

Dr. David E. Byer, 72, died Friday, Nov. 7, 2014, at Mayo Methodist Hospital in Rochester.

He was born at Horton, Kan., on Sept. 7, 1942, the first son of Everett and Adela Byer, and grew up on the family farm near Hamlin, Kan., graduating from Hamlin High School as valedictorian in 1960. In his youth, he was baptized as a member of the Brethren in Christ Church. After attending Upland College in California for one year, he returned to major in chemistry at the University of Kansas, graduating in 1963.

On Dec. 23, 1966, he married Jeannie (Elizabeth Jeannette) Jordan at Jetmore, Kan. After David’s graduation from the University of Kansas Medical School in Kansas City, Kan., in 1967, they settled in Wichita, Kan., for his internship at Wesley Medical Center. They shared an interest in medical missions, which took them to Macha Hospital in Zambia from 1968-1970, fulfilling his military service requirement. Upon their return, David entered the residency program in anesthesiology at Mayo Clinic in Rochester on Jan. 1, 1971, and stayed there for his entire career except for a return to Macha from 1974-1976. At the clinic, David served as anesthesiologist primarily for orthopedic and plastic surgeons and was assistant professor of anesthesiology, presenting many case studies. He was also a member of the liver transplant team for about six years, including being anesthesiologist for the first combined heart and liver transplant there in 1992. The diagnosis of multiple myeloma resulted in his eventual retirement in December 2010.

He and his family especially enjoyed travel and meeting people around the world. On one of his birthdays, David was in three continents before the day was done. Besides travel to professional meetings, he and Jeannie appreciated a family heritage of several generations of global interest in missions and were active in taking others to experience life at Macha and deliver needed medical supplies on numerous visits over the years. His interests aside from work were vast: genealogy, children’s book illustrators, classical music and hymns, a wide range of varied worship experiences, sponsoring international students, reading and research. He pursued them all. He was an active member of Salem Road Covenant Church. A motto David used frequently in correspondence in recent years summarized his life of faith and service to others: “Live simply, give generously.”

Survivors include his wife, Jeannie; six children and seven grandchildren, Lois (Joe) Caffrey and Vanessa of Rochester; Dr. Brian (Sharon) Byer, Grant, Joshua and Nathan of Duluth; Elaine (Joel) Heuton and Esther of Rochester; Craig Byer and his friend, Sarah Kaiser-Schatzlein of Minneapolis; Glenn Byer and his son, Owen of Minneapolis; and Paul Byer (Lizzie) and Ruth of Camarillo, Calif.; one sister, Janet Groff of Sioux Center, Iowa; one brother, Les (Pam) Byer of Marion, Kan.; Jeannie’s brothers, Jack (Cheryl) Jordan of Elizabethton,Tenn., and Dave (Fran) Jordan of Thung Chang, Thailand; an aunt, Carol (Doug) DuCharme of Santa Barbara, Calif.; and many nieces, nephews and cousins. Over the years, eight international students shared the Byer home.

Preceding him in death are his parents and wife’s parents; a sister, Ruth Irene in infancy, a brother-in-law, Bruce T. Groff, DVM, a sister-in-law, Celia Byer, and the family’s African granny, Bina Ezra.

At David’s request, his body was donated to the Mayo Clinic Department of Anatomy. His life was committed to God. Inurnment will follow at a later date at Pleasant Hill Cemetery near Hamlin, Kan., one of a fourth generation of the Byer family resting at that cemetery.

Visitation will be held at 2 p.m. Sunday, Nov. 16, with a memorial worship service at 2:30 p.m. at Calvary Baptist Church, 5905 Silas Dent Road N.W., Rochester, MN 55901. A lunch will follow.

Memorial gifts may be designated to the David E. and Jean Byer Endowed Scholarship Fund for International Students, Messiah College, One College Ave., Mechanicsburg, PA 17055, or to the Rochester (Minnesota) Salvation Army.

Obituary courtesy of the Post Bulletin.

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