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Bryan County, Oklahoma

Highland Park Cemetery
Durant, Oklahoma


Dora Norene James Byers

December 20, 1919 ~ November 13, 2008

© Holmes-Coffey-Murray Funeral Home

Submitted by: T.D.

Services for Dora Norene (James) Byers, of Durant, 88 years 11 months, will be held at Dayspring Church of Durant, on Tuesday, November 18 at 10:30 am. Family hour will be held at Dalton-Holmes Funeral Home on Monday, November 17 from 7:00pm – 8:00pm. Burial will be in Highlands Cemetery, Henry Brigman will officiate.

Norene was born December 20, 1919 in Brown, Bryan County, Oklahoma, to John Harvey James and Margaret Inez (Gass) James. Her mother was born in 1900 and came with her family to 12 Mile Prairie in a covered wagon when she was one year old. Other Parish relatives were already located near the Silo area since removal from Mississippi. Her grandfather Gass was a song leader and helped begin a church in Ft. Washita. He wrote poems and songs, one such poem described the drought of 1917 in Bryan County. Her father was born in Silo I.T. in 1900. His family had settled with other James members in that area prior to the turn of the century. They traveled to Indian Territory by wagon in 1896. Her grandfather James owned a grocery store in Silo and served as a Justice of the Peace for a time. Norene married Virgil Lee Byers in Blanchard, Oklahoma on December 19, 1938. He predeceased her in 1993. They lived for a time in Highland, TX (near Houston); and for a short while in Rusk, Texas. Their dream was to return to Oklahoma which they did in 1952, purchasing property in Durant. They had cattle, horses, and gardens that brought both work and pleasure to their lives.

They had 5 children of the marriage. The oldest, Joe Lee Byers of San Antonio, TX was born in Blanchard, OK as was the oldest daughter Margaret Byers Taylor of Durant. Phyllis Joy Byers Kelly and Pamela Jean Byers were born in Highlands, TX. The younger son Robert (Bob) Byers of Norman, Oklahoma was born in Durant. Pamela predeceased Norene in 1951; Phyllis predeceased her in 1997. Although Norene married during her senior year and didn’t graduate with her class, she later completed her GED after the 3 older children were teenagers. She attended some college classes and continued a life-long study of study and interest in foods and nutrition. She was an exemplary homemaker and made the pies ever eaten. She often won blue ribbons at the County Fair for her canning, and had won in the past for her quilting. Her daughters’ clothes were hand made during their growing up years, including formal gowns for prom. In 1973, Norene began work for the OSU Bryan County Extension Center with the Expanded Food and Nutrition Education Program. For 10 years she went into homes all over the county teaching her skills to help people improve their nutrition through budgeting and food preparation for their families. She also imparted wisdom and encouragement along the way. She was quoted by a relative “I try to do something for someone else every day”.

Other survivors include Joe Lee’s wife Mary; Margaret’s husband Joe; Bob’s wife Randi; Daughter-in-law Marilynn Mitchell Moorman; son-in-law David Kelly. Her grandchildren, which were the light and joy of her life, are: Jason Kelly and wife Lynn of Ft. Worth, TX and their son Mitchell; Laura Kelly Cannon and her husband Jay of Paris, TX and their sons Jonathon and Justin; Pamela Byers Smith and her husband Aaron of Frisco, TX and their son Weston; Marna Taylor Pemberton and her husband Brad and his son Connell of Nashville, TN; Leah Taylor and Jocelyn Taylor of New York City, NY; Patrick Byers, Adam Byers and Abbey Byers of Norman, OK and many other relatives and friends.

Condolences may be sent to the family at dhfh@communicomm.com

Dalton-Holmes Funeral Home is handling the arrangements

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