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Wilma Ruth Jenkins Byers, age 92, and wife of 75 years to J.C. Byers, passed away on Tuesday, January 17, 2023, at Prisma Health Laurens County Memorial Hospital.
Born in Appalachia, Virginia, she was a daughter of the late Sterling Eugene and Beulah McNutt Jenkins. Mrs. Byers served as Director of First Baptist Church Kindergarten for 19 years and after retiring, she worked at Barnes’ Gift Shop for 12 years and then volunteered for many years with the Laurens County Hospital Auxiliary. Wilma was a faithful member of First Baptist Church where she was active in many areas of the church such as helping with 3-year-old Training Union, 1st grade Sunday School, Girls Auxiliary, Day President for the Women’s Missionary Union, President of the Ideal Mellette Sunday School several times, facilitator for the Martha Franks and Sara Lee Patterson groups, and served with the shut-in program for many years. She was the last surviving member of her immediate family.
In addition to her husband, she is survived by: her children, Jonathan C. Byers (Janet) of Auburn, GA, and Janice Phillips (Paul) of Marietta, GA; and a granddaughter, Shannon Byers-Hulsey (Tommy) of Buford, GA.
In addition to her parents, Wilma was predeceased by a grandson, Shawn Byers.
A memorial service will be held 11:00 AM on Friday, January 20, 2023, at First Baptist Church conducted by Rev. Tim Marsh. The family will receive friends in the sanctuary immediately following the service. A private family committal will be held in Westview Memorial Park.
The family will be at their respective homes.
Memorials may be made to First Baptist Church, 300 West Main Street, Laurens, SC 29360.
Condolences may be expressed to the family online at www.thekennedymortuary.com.
The Kennedy Mortuary & Crematory
Our prayers are with your family as you grieve for sweet Wilma. She was a dear friend of our family for many years, and we will miss her.
Billy and Jane Barnes Cain
jane cain Jan 20 2023 7:22 PM
We were so sorry to hear of Mrs. Wilma’s passing. She was so special to our family having taught all our children in Kindergarten. She was such a faithful servant in First Baptist. She touched so many through the years.
Jim and Linda Yarbrough Jan 20 2023 4:23 PM
Janice, so sorry to hear of your mother’s passing. She one of the great loving Christian ladies of First Baptist that I remember growing up! Prayers for you and your family.
Leyette R. Harper Jan 19 2023 10:38 PM
Please accept our heartfelt sympathy in the loss of your dear Mother and Grandmother. The tributes already written speak volumes about her well lived Christian Life and her love for the people of her community. This is what we should all aspire to, to only leave beautiful memories with all of those whose lives we touch. In Sympathy, friends of Janice and Paul
Carole & Dick Kjellsen Jan 19 2023 9:52 PM
Miss Wilma was one of the first who taught me about the love of Jesus, growing up under her wing in kindergarten, Sunday School and Training Union at First Baptist. She was one of the kindest, most loving, most giving, most thoughtful women I know, and my life has been blessed by knowing her and learning from her. I still have handwritten notes from Miss Wilma from my four-year and five-year old kindergarten classes, and they have just become even more special now that Miss Wilma is gone. The Byers family is just one of those families that we all love and admire, and my prayers will be with all of the family members as they grieve this loss. I am so grateful to Miss Wilma for teaching me, for molding me and for loving me.
Kelly Simmons Sheppard Jan 19 2023 8:43 PM
To the Byers family: I was so saddened to hear of Mrs. Byers’ passing. I’ll always remember her gentle, kind, loving spirit. Praying for you all during this difficult time. 🙏🙏🙏.
Ann Templeton Poole
Ann T. Poole Jan 19 2023 7:11 PM
We are sorry for your loss. Wilma was a great lady. She will be missed. Miriam and Lisa
Lisa Corley Jan 19 2023 6:04 PM
Janice and family, we send our love and prayers for your comfort as you say goodbye to your amazing mother. May your memories of her bring you comfort and blessings today and all the days forward.
Cec and Jim Dunn Jan 19 2023 5:29 PM
Praise God for the Christian life of Mrs. Byers. I have known her all of my life. She was back neighbors with my Aunt Winnie (Letherenda Chaney) and when I grew up, she and Mr. Byers bought a house in my neighborhood and we’ve been back yard neighbors for many years. Again, I just give thanks for her and will miss her.
Julie Kirby Hobbs Jan 19 2023 4:24 PM
To the Byers family. So sorry to hear this news of Ms. Wilma's passing .I knew her when my children were at 1st Baptist kindergarten yrs ago . She was always smiling and was so loving to each child . She will be missed by many .
Karen MNix Jan 19 2023 2:46 PM