With his family by his side, Thomas Lane Byerley of Edmond, Oklahoma, went to be with his Savior Jesus Christ on September 17, 2018, in Fairfax, Virginia, just two days after turning 71. He was born September 15, 1947, in Dodge City, Kansas, to the late Thomas Louis and Lila Irene (Riley) Byerley.
Thomas fully enjoyed the things he chose to do – his was a life well lived. He would do anything for his family. He loved spoiling his grandchildren and spending time with them playing dominoes and Sudoku. There wasn’t anything he didn’t know how to fix, and he enjoyed working with his sons-in-law on special projects.
Thomas and his wife Karen enjoyed family trips to Hawaii, Japan, South Dakota, Niagara Falls, Canada, Arizona, Utah and Florida and traveled to Stillwater regularly to share in special events with their oldest daughter Dana and her family. Though in different states, Sunday afternoon football was a special bond Thomas shared with daughter Ashlee. He loved his sister Louise, talked with her weekly and traveled to see her regularly.
Making friends and visiting with people wherever he went were some of Thomas’ special qualities. He always had a story to tell or would tease you just a little, and he would call things like he saw them. Thomas loved attending Life Church each week and was sure to be there early. He was brilliant, great at math and had an excellent memory. Thomas was a sharp dresser and enjoyed playing golf. If you were lucky, you could get him to play the accordion.
Thomas loved a milkshake from Braum’s or Sonic and dining out with his family, including Saturday morning breakfast at Jimmy’s Egg. He served as Oklahoma City University Parent Council President with Karen during the time Dana was a student there. Thomas also served as “Dad” to many international students throughout the years.
His early years were spent on the family farm in Minneola, Kansas. Thomas met Karen his sophomore year at Fort Hays Kansas State College, where he graduated with his bachelor’s degree, earning a double major in chemistry and math. The two were married on Karen’s graduation day, May 29, 1970. Thomas enjoyed learning so much that he took numerous classes in pursuit of obtaining his master’s degree.
A career in chemical engineering provided opportunities for the family to live in Texas, Colorado and California before calling Oklahoma home for 37 years. Thomas worked for Baroid – where he was awarded a patent for his work that allowed oil rigs to drill more efficiently, Tenneco, USPCI and January Environmental.
Thomas joined Ferguson Environmental Resources (FER) Inc. in 2008 as General Manager. He treasured the numerous friendships made and truly enjoyed going to work each day. He retired in 2017 and less than a year later returned to work there part time.
Thomas is preceded in death by his parents; grandson, Caelan Matthew Wallace; and brother-in-law Jon West. He is survived by his wife of 48 years, Karen Lee Byerley; daughters, Dana Loreal (Andy) Wallace of Stillwater, Oklahoma, and Ashlee Jill (John) Clifton of Alexandria, Virginia; adored granddaughters, Kaylee Anne Clifton and Finlea Rose Wallace and beloved grandson Tyler Lee Clifton; sister, Louise West of Minneola, Kansas; and sister-in-law, Carol (Galen) Cooper of Apopka, Florida.
A memorial celebration to honor Thomas’ life will be held on October 13 from 1-3 p.m. at FER Inc. located at 11501 S. Interstate 44 Service Road in Oklahoma City. Graveside services will be held in Russell, Kansas, at a future date. The family would love to receive a card with your special memories of Thomas. You may also sign the online guestbook at www.edmondsun.com.