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MURPHYSBORO — Byron Wendel York, 89, of Murphysboro passed away Thursday (Oct. 7, 2021) in Carbondale.

Byron was born on July 3, 1932, in Tuscola. He graduated from Tuscola High School in 1950. He married Sue Coslet York on Nov. 26, 1955, who preceded him in death on Dec. 3, 2019. They would have celebrated their 66th anniversary this November. He attended Eastern Illinois University, where he ran track and received his bachelor’s degree in accounting; McCormick Theological Seminary, where he received his degree of divinity; and he served in the U.S. Army during the Korean War.

He was an inspirational Presbyterian pastor of the Southeastern Illinois Presbytery, where he served for 36 years. He had called churches in Paris, Onarga and Lawrenceville, and in 1973, he took a position as probation officer in Murphysboro. While a probation officer, he continued preaching with interims in Benton, DuQuoin, Pinkneyville and many churches in southern Illinois. He continued active participation in the Southeastern Illinois Presbytery and was the chair for the Committee on Ministry and was moderator of the presbytery from 1997 to 1998. 

While a pastor in Lawrenceville, he created a youth regional alliance and led youth mission trips to Colorado, Oklahoma, Alabama and numerous locations throughout the country. A highlight was visiting the Trail of Tears in Oklahoma. He was very active in the civil rights movement and facilitated a pulpit exchange.

During his career in probation, Byron was promoted to chief probation officer in Jackson County and spearheaded the growth and expansion of the department. He was very active in the community and a longtime member of the Kiwanis Club and president from 1984 to 1985. Helping others has always been a focus of his ministry in and out of the church, and he was on the board of the Murphysboro Food Bank, helping with expansion of a new building.

Because of the tragic loss of Cliff Stein, he took over the Murphysboro Zips, taking kids all over southern Illinois performing Globetrotter-like tricks at high schools and many times at Southern Illinois University Carbondale basketball games. His support of the Zips and all the kids involved has had a long-lasting impact on many lives.

He loved the outdoors, including sailing, and he took his family on camping trips every summer to Kentucky Lake, Colorado and around the country. During retirement, he and Sue completed the entire Lewis and Clark Trail, taking their camper to every historical marker along the journey. His background in construction enhanced his love of woodworking, and he spent his time relaxing creating candle holders on lathes and carving birds by hand. He enjoyed singing in the choir and was active at the First Presbyterian Church of Murphysboro.

He was loving, caring and very supportive of our entire family and for everyone he met. When you met our dad and talked to him, you knew he cared, because his words and actions showed it.

Visitation will be at 4 p.m. Sunday, Oct. 17, at First Presbyterian Church, 51 Crescent Drive, Murphysboro. The funeral service will be held immediately following at 5 p.m. Masks and social distancing are required. Burial will follow in Tuscola Township Cemetery, 1000 E. Southline Road, Tuscola, on Monday, Oct. 18, at 10:30 a.m. Arrangements are by Crawshaw Funeral Home.

Survivors include two daughters, Cynthia (Brian) York-Camden and Gail (Paul) Frangoulis; one son, Paul (Dara) York; five grandchildren, Mindy (John) Belcher, Rachel (Jerred) Crane, Sarah (Will) Sappington, Kelli Frangoulis and Jacob York; two great-grandchildren, Wyatt Belcher and Daxton Belcher; two foster great-grandchildren; and his dog, Charlie.

He was preceded in death by his wife, Sue Coslet York; and parents, Norman and Jessie (Keeney) York.

Memorials may be given to First Presbyterian Church, 51 Crescent Drive, Murphysboro, IL 62966. To send a condolence or for additional information, visit the memorial tribute at crawshawfuneralhome.com.

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