Dr. Joe L. Byers, Ph.D.

Joe Byers, 86, of Lansing, MI, passed away on Sunday, February 21, 2016. He was born in New York, New York on August 6, 1929, to Ruth and Marcus Byers.  Joe was a veteran of the Korean War, serving in the U.S. Army. He earned two Bachelor’s degrees from the University of Wisconsin in Agriculture and Education; as well his Master’s and Ph.D. in Educational Psychology.

Joe dedicated his life to teaching, beginning as a social studies teacher at Middleton High School, in Middleton, Wisconsin.  He then became an Associate Professor and Assistant Research Psychologist at the University of California, Berkeley. Joe spent the majority of his career as a tenured professor in the Department of Counseling, Educational Psychology and Special Education in the Michigan State University, College of Education. While at MSU, he specialized in educational technology and the factors that influence the adoption of technology, the impact of technology on learning, and the applications of technology in teaching and learning. Joe was also a founding member of the Institute for Research Teaching (IRT), which supports and furthers the research interests and activities of the College of Education. After more than four decades of teaching, he became a professor emeritus in 1998.

After retirement Joe, and his wife Lucy Bates-Byers, established a first-of-its kind endowed gift in Technology and Curriculum at the College of Education. Awarded to a faculty member, the endowment provides support to the advancement of research related to technological applications and integration with curriculum spanning from primary to higher education. In 2003, Joe was honored — for his extraordinary contributions and commitment to education — with the College of Education’s Crystal Apple Award given to outstanding educators who inspire the next generation and beyond.

Joe is survived by his wife, Lucy Bates-Byers of Lansing; a sister, Deborah Bennett of San Antonio, TX; his daughter by his first marriage to Sue Byers, Bryonie Byers of Chevy Chase, MD; two stepchildren, Mary Jane Knappen of Lansing and Christopher Knappen of Orlando, FL; a son-in-law, Kevin Avery, and a grandson, J. Hudson Avery, both of Chevy Chase, MD.

Memorial contributions may be made to the Joe L. Byers and Lucy Bates-Byers Endowment for Technology and Curriculum at the Michigan State University College of Education, ?620 Farm Lane Room 513, East Lansing, MI 48824.  Online condolences may be left for his family at www.EstesLeadley.com. No funeral services are planned.

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5 Messages to “Dr. Joe L. Byers, Ph.D.

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George and Marilyn Nugent
February 24, 2016 at 11:26 am

Dear Lucy,

We are so sorry to hear of your loss of Joe. His professional accomplishments and wonderful sense of humor are memories we have of our times with him.

Our deepest sympathy to you and your family. You are in our thoughts and prayers.

Matthew Koehler
February 24, 2016 at 12:58 pm

Joe was such a great influence in our college, and wonderful person who always had something nice and thoughtful to say.

The award Joe and Lucy set up after retirement helped many young researchers get started. This includes me as a very young, unfuded, and thankful newcomer to the college.

Joe will be sorely missed, but always fondly remembered

Rust and Susan Kessel
February 24, 2016 at 3:35 pm

Dear Lucy:
We are very sorry to learn about your losing Joe. Please know you are in our thoughts and prayers. We are currently out of town, but will contact you soon.

Janet Shroyer
February 24, 2016 at 8:19 pm

Lucy, So sorry to learn of Joe’s passing. I am pleased that he had good years with you! He was a dear friend and kind person. Know he must have been thrilled to be a grandfather–good for Bryonie! My best to you as you make the changes to your life due to this loss. He will certainly be remembered by so many! Jan

Sandra W Buike
February 24, 2016 at 10:59 pm

Dearest Lucy,
My deepest sympathy. My hope is that you will find comfort and peace in the memories of the wonderful life you shared. Joe was a wonderful friend and mentor to many. I’ll miss his laugh, our hearty discussions, and, witnessing the depth of his love for you. Take care, peace.


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