Adam Byers dies at age of 101

PAT FRIDGEN
Adam Byers never tired of showing people his 1929 Model A Ford, including here in August 2010 at the Old Home Week car show.

Adam Meyer Byers, who became a centenarian on Oct. 27, 2009, died Monday at the age of 101. The Greencastle native lived the last five years with his son James and family on Grindstone Hill Road. According to the family, he was alert and responsive until his final days at Quincy Home.

Byers and his late wife Elizabeth lived on Hades Church Road. He was well-known in the community as a history teacher in the Greencastle-Antrim School District for 30 years, as a performer during Old Home Week pageants, and as a member of Five Forks Brethren in Christ Church, Waynesboro. He was also famous for his 1929 Model A Ford, the classic car which he purchased from Hoachlander Ford for $532.90. Initially his main mode of transportation, it was also used by his growing family, children Anna Mary, Martha, Joseph, James and John. Byers showed it off at public events, the automobile kept in pristine condition.

He was valedictorian of the Greencastle High School Class of 1928, graduated from Juniata College and earned a master’s degree from Penn State. He made the news in 1952 when he picked up hitchhikers in Pennsylvania. They kidnapped him and drove south. In Roanake, Va. Byers escaped through the window of his 1950 Buick, the car was recovered in Ohio, and the three soldiers absent without leave were caught.

During his 100th birthday party, Byers said the secret to his long life was “Trust in the Lord. Psalm 103 says, ‘He forgives all our iniquity and heals all our diseases.’ That’s pretty good.”

James will remember his father for his tender personality.

“He was the most gentle, Christ-like man I’ve ever known. He was patient and loved people.”

At James’ birth, Byers handed out candy bars in the classroom. Years since his 1977 retirement, many former pupils still tell James stories about his dad. “They said he left them get away with too much. He was too kindhearted. He will be remembered for being a godly man.”

Byers is survived by his children, a son-in-law, a daughter-in-law, eight grandchildren and one great-grandchild. His grandson Nathan Byers preceded him in death.