Tim Byers '75

Tim ByersWhat’s the best piece of advice you’ve ever received?

It was from Russell Slater in my first Bluffton special education class in 1972, when he said "accept your weaknesses and even disabilities as a positive, because it will help you define your gifts when you understand and accept your weaknesses." I know my gifts have been teaching, and I can only be myself, which involves humor and brutal honesty.

What memorable moment in your life shaped who you are today?

Having had polio in 1955, dealing with paralysis, developing rheumatic fever, meningitis and related health issues for the first 10 years of my life has strengthened my faith and directed me in the career path of working with children and families with disabilities. I feel blessed to have overcome my early life issues and have been able to spend 40 years in education helping others to accept and even overcome their personal obstacles. Being a husband, father to four, father-in-law to four and grandfather to eight affirms to me that my rough and bumpy road early in life was God reminding me that my life will be worth every minute of my early struggles.

What new interest(s) are you pursuing?

I have tried reading when my wife Brenda reads, but cannot sit still long enough. I tried whittling and wood carving only to end up at the emergency room for stitches; tried drumming but cannot read music; and am always open to a new adventure or activity with the family and the grandkids, so I guess my new interest is my old interest … Cleveland Indians baseball and any sport/activity which Brenda and I can follow together!

If you could sit down and chat with anyone—living or dead—for an hour, who would it be and why?

I had a loving and close relationship with my father-in-law, Russell High. “Pop Pop” passed away four years ago, and we had a wonderful relationship for nearly 40 years in which he accepted my weird and at times sarcastic humor, showed me how to be a dedicated father and grandfather, and modeled how to enjoy life right down to the end of his life.

Tim Byers, a Bluffton graduate, became an adjunct instructor on campus in 1995 and has been an assistant professor of education since 2004. He holds a master’s degree from the University of Dayton.