Reathel E. “Rip” Byers
Reathel E. “Rip” Byers, 88, passed away Tuesday, March 12, 2013. He was a resident of Greenwood and a former longtime resident of Boonville.
Rip was born March 17, 1924, in Warrick County. He graduated from Tennyson High School in 1942 and served in the U.S. Coast Guard from 1943 through 1945.
He worked for Peabody Coal in Lynnville from 1952 until his retirement in 1989. Rip was a proud member of the United Mine Workers of America Local 9926. He was a 57-year member of the Masonic Lodge, serving as past worshipful master of Strangers Rest Lodge 240 in Boonville.
In addition, Rip was a member of the Scottish Rite, the Hadi Shrine (Evansville), the Hadi Shrine Legion of Honor, the American Legion and the Veterans of Foreign Wars. He also served as a longtime precinct committeeman for Boon 8.
Rip joined the Hemenway Presbyterian Church (Boonville) in 1951, where he was a loyal and active member. After his move to Greenwood, he attended Mount Auburn United Methodist Church and Center Grove Presbyterian Church.
Sports were important to Rip, both as a participant and a spectator. He was an accomplished baseball and basketball player. He received a scholarship offer from Butler University to play basketball but chose instead to serve his country in the Coast Guard. He loved to follow IU basketball and the St. Louis Cardinals.
He had a lifelong passion for horses. He paraded his many beautiful white horses all over the country for more than 45 years as a member of the Hadi White Horse patrol.
Rip is survived by his devoted wife of 63 years, Helen (Allen); daughters, Carol Byers (Jan Van der Brugge, his two children and his four grandchildren, Fiona, Allegra, Nic and Lilly), Pam Siefers (George Roach) and her son, Clint Byers Siefers; son, Jeff Byers (Diane) and their daughter, Lydia; sister, Brenda (Hart) (Gerrill) Rudolph; and brothers, Lynn Ralston (Gail) and Carl Ralston (Brenda).
Rip was preceded in death by his parents, Lenos and Bernice Hart; and siblings, Ervin Byers, Harold Hart, Charlotte Hart and Jim Ralston.
The funeral service will be at 11 a.m. Tuesday at Koehler Funeral Home, 304 E. Main St. in Boonville. Visitation at the funeral home will be from 2 to 7 p.m. Monday, with a Shrine walk-through at 6:30 p.m. and a Masonic memorial service at 7 p.m., and from 9 a.m. until service time Tuesday. Burial will be at Maple Grove Cemetery in Boonville, with military rites by the Warrick County Veterans Memorial Services.
In lieu of flowers, the family requests that memorial contributions in the name of Reathel E. “Rip” Byers can be made to the Indiana Masonic Home Foundation Inc., 525 N. Illinois St., Indianapolis, IN 46204; or Hemenway Memorial Presbyterian Church, 124 E. Sycamore St., Boonville, IN 47601.
Condolences and any special remembrance may be made online at www.koehlerfuneralhome.com.