Lowell  Byler


Lowell James Byler, 89, a resident of Harrisonburg, Virginia, passed away Saturday, Dec. 22, at his daughter and son-in-law's home.
Mr. Byler was born March 26, 1929, in Goshen, Indiana, and was the son of the late Clarence R. and Ida M. Byler.
Lowell graduated from Goshen High School. He received his bachelor's degree in education from Goshen College and his master's degree in music from the University of Michigan. Lowell completed his residency for his doctorate in musical arts from Northwestern University, Evanston, Illinois.
Lowell was a well-known musician, professor, soloist and choral music conductor in many church institutions. He taught choir and vocal music at Hesston College, Hesston, Kansas; Millsaps College, Jackson, Mississippi; Eastern Mennonite College, Harrisonburg; Sterling College, Sterling, Kansas; Livingston University, Livingston, Alabama; and Tougaloo College, Tougaloo, Mississippi.
Church director of music positions held by Lowell were Hesston Mennonite Church, Alexanderwohl Mennonite, Parkview Mennonite, St. Paul's United Methodist, Wichita, Kansas, Sterling First Presbyterian, Canton First Presbyterian, Canton, Mississippi, Briarwood Presbyterian, Jackson, Mississippi, and Plymouth Church of Christ, Goshen.
In addition to his teaching positions and church positions, Mr. Byler also held administrative positions at Hesston College as department chairman, Eastern Mennonite College department chairman, Excel Corp. employment manager and church and institutional consultant for Mississippi Music Company.
Mr. Byler was a member of the National Choral Conductors Guild of America, National Music Educators Association and the National Association of Teachers of Singing.
Mr. Byler was the director of church music workshops in Colorado and Pennsylvania. He also served as the Mennonite High School Choral Festival guest conductor on several occasions.
Mr. Byler's solo performances were with the Bach Singers, the Jack Halloran Singers, Northwestern University Opera Theater, Roger Wagner Chorale, Memphis Opera Theater, Jackson Choral Society, University of Southern Mississippi, University of Mississippi, Wichita Choral Society, Oklahoma City Choral Society, Shenandoah Choral Society, Augustana College, Goshen College, Geurnsey Theater, Lancaster/Lansdale Choral Society, Tabor College Choral Society, Henderson Community Choral Society and Garden City Community Choral Society.
Lowell also was a composer and arranger of several pieces of music. He received the National Outstanding Educator of the Year award several times. Lowell really enjoyed tuning and rebuilding pianos in his retirement years.
On June 9, 1950, Lowell married Miriam K. Byler, who passed away Feb. 12, 2017. Miriam and Lowell worked side by side as director and accompanist throughout their vast careers in music.
Surviving are two daughters, Susan C. Weaver, and husband, Jim, Harrisonburg, and Lori B. Reethof, and husband, Alex, Marietta, Georgia; grandchildren, Megan Hansen (Matt), Hampton, Nebraska, Ryan Reethof (Nicole) and Cole Reethof, both of Atlanta, Georgia, Max Reethof and Emi Reethof, both of Marietta Georgia; step-grandchildren, Brian Weaver (Stephanie) and Katie Howdyshell (Josh), both of Harrisonburg.
In addition to his parents and wife, Mr. Byler was preceded in death by a brother, C. Leland Byler, and a sister, Berdine Hoffman.
A memorial service will take place at 11 a.m. Saturday, Jan. 12, at Mill Creek Church of the Brethren, Port Republic, with Glenn Bollinger officiating.
At his request, the body was cremated.
McMullen Funeral Home is in charge of arrangements. Online condolences may be made to the family by visiting mcmullenfh.com.
Published on December 28, 2018
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