BYERS, WILLIAM BOWLING (1920 ~ 2010). The following is an obituary for William "Bo" Byers, longtime political journalist and World War II veteran. The obituary was published in the May 30, 2010 edition of the Austin American Statesman.
William Bowling (Bo) Byers died on Sunday, May 23, 2010. He was preceded in death by his beloved wife Mary Catherine, who died October 2006. Bo was born in Miami, Missouri on April 24, 1920. He came to Austin at a very young age and was raised by his beloved Aunt Annie and Uncle John Byers. He lived in their home on West 5th Street, and attended Austin High School.
Bo discovered a love for writing at the age of eight, thus beginning his career as a journalist. He earned a Bachelor of Journalism from the University of Texas and began his distinguished news reporting career at the Tyler Morning Telegraph, becoming Sports Editor.
In 1942, he married Mary Catherine Cowan of Waco, Texas, with whom he raised six beautiful, loving children. Enlisting in the Army Air Corps, he served as a B-17 navigator in the 351st Bomb Group, flying thirty missions in ninety days. Bo was awarded the Distinguished Flying Cross and the Air Medal with three Oak Leaf Clusters. He retired as a Major, after serving twenty seven years in the Texas National Guard and the U. S. Army Reserve.
From 1945-56, Bo was a sports writer for the Associated Press Capitol Bureau. From 1957 until his retirement in 1983, Bo wrote for the Houston Chronicle, becoming Bureau Chief, working from the State Capitol Press Room. He became a well known and respected political reporter, covering the Texas Legislature, as well as state and national political conventions. He covered several National Governor's Conferences, taking him abroad.
In 1993, Bo returned to the University of Texas and earned his Masters Degree in Journalism through the LBJ School of Public Affairs. He became a seasoned member of the LBJ School's renowned Sage Book Club. He has been an unwavering member of Central Presbyterian Church since 1926, serving as deacon and elder. His love of music led him to choir, where he became a disciplined soloist.
Bo is survived by his sister, Charmian Akins of Dallas; daughters, Mary Herrick and husband Charles, Ann Wille, Jean Axtell and husband Alan. His sons are Bowling Louis Byers, John Byers and wife Alice, and James Winston Byers. His grandsons include Greg Wille, and John Langdon; granddaughters Julia Ann Walden, Daphne LaMontagne, Belen and Madison Byers. Great grandchildren include Elliot Ingram, Lance and Claire Wille, Charlie Langdon, and Mac LaMontagne. He is also survived by his sister-in-law Charlene Huskisson. His nephews are Kelly Akins, Casey Akins; nieces Allison Thorne, Heidi Mason, and Beverly Hamilton.
Visitation will be held from 6:00 to 8:00 p.m. on Tuesday, June 1, 2010 at Weed-Corley-Fish Funeral Home, 3125 N. Lamar. Pastor Greg McDonnell will conduct funeral services at 10:30 a.m. on Wednesday, June 2nd at Central Presbyterian Church, 200 East 8th Street, followed by a church reception. Burial service will take place at 1:00 p.m. at the Texas State Cemetery, 909 Navasota, access from East 7th, Austin.
In lieu of flowers, memorials may be made to the Stephen F Austin High School Continuing Education Foundation, c/o Austin Trust Company, 336 South Congress, Ste 100, Austin, Texas 78704.
Further information is available through the Texas State Cemetery research department.