Byers Winston-Salem Mildred Inzer Byers Sep. 7, 1926 - Mar. 1, 2019 Mildred Inzer Byers, Salem Sister, beloved teacher and passionate advocate for women's rights, died at Salemtowne on March 1, 2019. Born on September 7, 1926 in Erwin, NC to Walton and Carolyn Byers, Inzer was valedictorian of her Durham High School class and elected to Phi Beta Kappa at Randolph Macon Woman's College. She earned her Ph.D. in American history from Radcliffe College/Harvard University. In 1957, she joined the faculty of Salem College and over the next 35 years became the legendary Dr. Byers. Her courses were exceptionally challenging and her example as a professional academic inspired legions of young women. Over the ensuing decades many wrote to thank her for significantly changing their lives. She was, as one alumna noted, "a beacon for the serious history scholar" and no less a champion for those in other disciplines. She always encouraged her students to do better, to strive harder, and to reach farther. When one student asked Dr. Byers to provide a reference letter for training as a legal secretary, Dr. Byers declined, stating that instead she would provide a reference letter for law school. The student now practices in Raleigh. Dr. Byers was similarly esteemed by her faculty colleagues. She served as Salem's first Faculty Marshall and first Ivy May Hixson Distinguished Chair of Humanities. She was particularly proud of Salem's 1991 selection of its first female president, Dr. Julianne Still Thrift. Dr. Byers was preceded in death by her parents and her sister Linda Ruth Byers Merlin. She is survived by her sister Carolyn Byers Downey Brockwell; nephews Fred (Penny) Downey and Chris (Rosa) Downey; great nephews Josh, Tim (Catherine) and Renzo Downey; great niece Cara Leigh Downey; and chosen family members Mary deShazer, Martin Jacobi, Howard and Kathleen Schrader, Diedra and Jim Kriewald, Rose Simon and two cats, Raven and Baby. Hundreds of devoted Salem College alumnae join her family and colleagues in mourning her passing. The family extends profound thanks to the staff of Salemtowne Retirement Community and Trellis Supportive Care for their dedicated and compassionate service. A memorial service for Dr. Byers will be held in the Saal at Salemtowne on March 16 at 11:00 a.m. In lieu of flowers, memorials may be made to Salem College, the Salemtowne Resident Assistance Fund or Trellis Supportive Care.

Load entries