On Christmas Day, Blanco County lost a beloved member of the community. Former Blanco County Judge George Byars Jr. died Thursday at the age of 77. He succumbed to the colon cancer that he had battled with for the past three years.
His wife, Eunice, son Alan and daughter Karen, as well as Karen’s two children were with him at Fredricksburg Hospital. His other son, Mark, made it shortly thereafter.
A native of Johnson City, he served in the Air Force during the Korean conflict, then returned home to attend what is now Texas State University in San Marcos.
After graduation, he went to work for the Port Arthur School District as a teacher and an administrator for almost 30 years before returning to his hometown of Johnson City to retire.
He was a founding member of the Johnson City Volunteer Fire Department in 1949 and before he moved back would help fight blazes if he happened to be in town during school breaks. He was also a training officer.
He was appointed County Commissioner for four years and was elected County Judge in 1994.
“As the judge, he guided the then 80 year old county courthouse through a badly needed renovation, “ Johnson City Mayor Kermit Roeder said.
Other areas that he helped improve were establishing new emergency service districts, revamping the 911 system and helping to improve the radio communication systems used by emergency workers.
“He knew just about everyone in the county,” Roeder said. “He was well-liked by the people.”
Visitation was held on Sunday, December 28 at Crofts Funeral Home in Johnson City. His funeral service was held Monday, December 29, also at Crofts.
In lieu of flowers, donations can be made to Johnson City Volunteer Fire Department.