Betsy Cromer Byars

  • Born: August 7, 1928
  • Died: February 26, 2020
  • Location: Seneca, South Carolina

Duckett-Robinson Funeral Home & Crematory

108 Cross Creek Road
Central, SC 29630
Tel. (864) 639-2411

Tribute & Message From The Family

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.

In addition to her husband, Edward Ford Byars, 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,

Condolence & Memory Journal

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.

Posted by Robert Ryan - London   October 08, 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!

Posted by Susan S. - Acquaintance   September 17, 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

Posted by Ben Sullivan - Seneca, SC - Friend   April 06, 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

Posted by Carolyn Lattimore - Greenville, SC - Friend   March 26, 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

Posted by Marybeth Evans - Anderson, SC - Acquaintance   March 15, 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.

Posted by Helen Whitesides Lindsay - MORGANTOWN, WV - Friend   March 12, 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.

Posted by Walt & Edie Castro - Clemson, SC - Friend   March 10, 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

Posted by Kande Brandt - Morgantown, WV - Acquaintance   March 05, 2020

So sorry for your loss. Her books were enjoyed by my child and my students.

Posted by Pamela Frady - Williamston, SC   March 03, 2020

Nan and family,
Your mother was always so kind and a wonderful, gifted writer. I cherish childhood memories in Morgantown.

Posted by Camille Caruso Weiss - Salem, MA - friend   March 02, 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.

Posted by Kerry Leeper Brock - Seneca, SC - Acquaintance   March 02, 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.

Posted by V. Binkerd - San Diego, CA   March 02, 2020

A great lady. Very sorry for your loss.

Posted by Glenn Holden - Charlotte, NC - Friend   March 02, 2020

Laurie and Micheal,
Sorry for your loss. Keeping you in thoughts and prayers. Love, Fran and Gary Richardson

Posted by Fran Richardson - Piedmont, SC - family   March 01, 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.

Posted by Nancy Craddock - Gainesville, GA - Teacher   February 29, 2020

Loved her books

Posted by 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.

Posted by 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.

Posted by Patricia Cruzan - Fayetteville, GA - Acquaintance   February 29, 2020


I am so sorry for your loss. My thoughts and prayers are with all of you at this sad time.

Posted by Patricia Holcombe - Seneca, SC - Acquaintance   February 29, 2020

NaN and family. So sorry for your loss. Keep her alive in your heart with your wonderful memories. God Bless. Libby Bell Davis.

Posted by Libby Davis - Morgantown, WV - Classmate   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

Posted by Rhett & Libby Myers - Greenville, SC - Family   February 28, 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.

Posted by Janet Pierce - Augusta, GA - Acquaintance   February 27, 2020

Family Album