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Ivan's Story

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TAHLEQUAH – Ivan Charles Bys passed away peacefully on Oct. 18, 2015, in Tahlequah. He was 93 years old. Rev. Bys was born in 1922 in Fairfax, Iowa, to Esther Marie and Frank Henry Bys. As a boy he was active in the Bohemian-Moravian Church near Ely, Iowa, where he learned to worship in spite of the fact he did not understand the Bohemian language. The family moved to Center Point, Iowa, during his first year in school and was active in the Evangelical Church which became Evangelical United Brethren and finally United Methodist. The family moved to Walford/Amana, Iowa, during his first year in high school. He graduated from Norway High School. In the spring of 1941, a tornado struck the Bys farm, destroying all but the house. He said this event “got my attention” and provided the setting for his call to the ministry. His co-pastors, Emma and Irving Arnold, persuaded him to conduct services at Swisher, a nearby town, and there he found himself “on the right track.” In the fall of 1942, he enrolled in Coe College in Cedar Rapids, Iowa, beginning eight years of academic studies. Through the Arnolds, he began to hear about Ada Caroline Clark, a young parishioner at Palo, Iowa, one of the Arnolds’ five churches. As a young girl, Ada felt she would be the wife of a minister and this came to be on June 4, 1942. They spent their honeymoon at Annual Conference where he received his first pastoral appointment to Mineral Ridge and Mackay. He entered Simpson College in Indianola, Iowa, for his second year of college, graduating in 1948. Rev. Bys’ schooling was interrupted by World War II. He entered the U.S. Army in March 1943 and was honorably discharged in November 1945. His seminary training was at Boston University School of Theology where he was ordained a Methodist pastor in 1952. While there, he pastored the Saxonville (Massachusetts) Methodist Church. In addition to the churches named above, Rev. Bys served Norwalk/Linn Grove/ Spring Hill, Lanesboro, Carroll, Perry, Waterloo, Osceola, and Des Moines Staves Memorial, all in Iowa. He retired in 1980 from the Iowa Conference of the United Methodist Church and he and Ada moved to Bella Vista, Ark. While in Bella Vista, Rev. Bys and his wife were very active in Lions International, organizing the Bentonville Noon Lions Club; he also became the State Membership chairman. He worked two years for Cooper Communities until the Lord called him back to the ministry in 1982.
Published on  October 29, 2015
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