Robert Byer, 85

Robert James Byer, 85, went to his heavenly home Saturday, April 30, 2011 in Fort Wayne.He was born Oct. 27, 1925 near Marshall, Mich., a son of the late Herbert and Ruby (Laukhart) Byer. A 1944 graduate of the Wolf Lake High School, he served in the United States Navy during World War II.Following his discharge from the Navy, he returned to Noble County where he farmed until retiring at age 75.On Nov. 19, 1949, he was united in marriage to Lois Shively, who survives him.Robert loved teaching the youth of the Ormas Baptist Church for 47 years. He wanted the youth to accept Jesus Christ as their Savior and strive for the Lord. In later years, he was the head of the Ormas Baptist Mission Board for more than 13 years. In addition to his wife, he is survived by five children, Beverly (Rick) Merritt of Arizona, Kevin Byer of California, Cheryl (Robert) Broxon of Indiana, James (Stacia) Byer of California and Michele (James) Crowley of Indiana; 10 grandchildren, Shane Merritt, Joshua (Mary) McClain, Laura (Christian) de Veer, Carrie Broxon, Craig (Lauren) Broxon, Kyle Broxon, Grant and Garrett Byer, Danielle (Robby) Schultz and Megan Crowley; five great-grandchildren, Jordan and Tyler Merritt, Ruby and Paul McClain and Serena Broxon; a sister, Mary Lou (Les) Phipps and many nieces and nephews.He was preceded in death by siblings, Eugene Byer, Betty Wolfe, Kathryn Holt and Herbert Junior Byer.The funeral service will be at 10:30 a.m. Saturday in the Christian Chapel Church in Merriam with Rev. Terry Zolman, officiating. The visitation will be 2 to 4 and 6 to 8 p.m. Friday at the Smith and Sons Funeral Home, Columbia City and one hour before the service at the church. The burial will be in the Thorn Cemetery at Ormas.Preferred memorials may be made to the University Baptist Church for Mark Lehman, a missionary to Taiwan, Box 1643, Clemson, SC 29633. Condolences may be sent to