Byron Ellsworth Beaty was born on February 6, 1927, in Henley, Nebraska to parents Arch VanDyke Beaty and Nell Valeta Blough. He went to his heavenly home on Monday, January 17, 2022, after a battle with COPD and CHF exacerbated by COVID.
Growing up in the 1930’s, Byron’s family had tough times. When Byron was a child, the family moved many times, living in Hendley, NE, then Beaver City, Wilsonville, Oberlin, KS, back to Hendley, NE, and finally to LaGrange, WY by the time he was 13. Many meals consisted of boiled dried beans. Most picky kids would not eat that today.
Byron spent his high school years living in LaGrange, WY. Byron spent much of his time working on the ranch where his best friend lived. His ranch activities including riding and roping, at which he became proficient. Years later, he would surprise Phyllis and his in-laws with
these cowboy skills while visiting Phyllis’ sister Adeline and her husband Ivan in Nebraska. They had a rather ornery horse and in jest, Ivan offered Byron a chance to ride. To Phyllis’ horror, Byron agreed, and deftly mounted and rode off, in full control.
Byron graduated high school in LaGrange, WY in the spring of 1944. After graduation, Byron immediately enlisted and was initially enrolled in Army specialized training for HS grads, studying engineering for 3 semesters at the University of Nebraska - Lincoln where he lived in Love Library (which had been converted to temporary dormitories).
Byron was discharged from this training in order to join the air corps for active duty, and had additional training at Lowry field in Denver as clerk typist, but already knew how to type. He was therefore was placed in the receiving office to work permanent party. Because he was only 17 when he enlisted, he never saw action beyond what he termed the “Battle of Lowry Field”.
At war’s end, he was discharged from active duty and joined the Army Air Force Reserves, from which he was soon discharged because he had no way to travel to the meetings. Following his military service, he used the GI bill and took 1½ additional years to complete his electrical engineering degree at UNL.
While attending school in Lincoln, he met Phyllis Pennington one evening at the roller skating rink. After his graduation, they married on Sept. 3, 1950 and moved directly to Kansas City where Byron had his first job in electrical engineering. Daughter Gail was born in Kansas City in Dec. 1953. Byron took his first vacation from work to travel to Denver to search for a job there, because he liked the Denver area while he was serving at Lowry Field. In 1955 Byron and Phyllis moved to Denver where their son, Joe was born in 1957.
At age 4, Joe was diagnosed with Neurofibromatosis, and Byron and Phyllis suffered with him through numerous eye surgeries, and with the malignant tumor that took his life at age 29. Byron never quit mourning the loss of his son.
Byron was working for Metron Instrument Company when he was laid off and took a job with Martin Marietta. Byron has stated that this was the best move he ever made. Byron was involved in engineering the Titan rockets, which first sent American Pioneers into space. He worked on developing a welding process that could withstand the intense heat of blast-off. He was also involved in the engineering of the Viking Mars Lander. While at Martin, he was honored for his implementation of a major money saving measure. He remained with Martin until retirement.
Byron and Phyllis attended First Presbyterian Church of Englewood faithfully from about 1958 until the Covid-19 pandemic arose, at which time they isolated themselves at home. They sang in the choir for most of those years that they attended. He served as elder and she as deacon for many years and actively called on church visitors weekly prior to choir practice for many years.
They were active in the Presbyterian Mariners Couples Club. While Gail and Joe were growing up, they travelled every summer for 10 years to their annual “Mariner’s Cruise”, a national convention. This was held in a different state each year. The family would camp their way to and from this event, and often stayed at National Parks or visited relatives. In this way, Gail and Joe were privileged to see the nation.
For 10 years, Byron drove Gail to her weekly piano lesson, and he spent that hour visiting his mother, sister, and nephews who lived nearby. He became a surrogate father to these nephews and provided material and moral support for them all.
Byron and Phyllis were active in Square Dancing Club, the Rocky Mountain Rock Club, and the Neurofibromatosis Foundation. Byron was a member of the Englewood Masonic Lodge and the Foresters.
Together Byron and Phyllis participated regularly in exercise at the Englewood Recreation Center, Phyllis with water exercise while Byron worked out on the equipment, after which they often went out with the others for breakfast.
They frequently went on short trips through the Malley Senior Center in Englewood. They travelled to Hawaii, Alaska, cruised the Panama Canal, and cruised the St. Laurence Seaway.
Byron was preceded in death by his father Arch, mother Nell, son Joe and sister Lois. He is survived by his wife Phyllis; daughter Gail (Chris) Effken; granddaughter Ashley (Jim) Prothro, and their children Sophia, Heidi, Elizabeth, and Charles; grandson Chris (Stephanie) Effken and their children Grace, Benjamin, and Judah; nephew Keith Martin Blackburn (Darla) and their children; nephew Robert Butler; and 12 Pennington nieces and nephews, their spouses, children, and grandchildren.