Byron John Henry, 83, of Baker City, Oregon, passed away peacefully at his home in the presence of family and friends on November 23, 2022. Due to the upcoming holidays and winter roads, a service to celebrate his life will be held on March 11, 2023, at 2 pm at the Baker City Church of the Nazarene.
Byron was born April 17, 1939, in Montevideo, Minnesota to John and Fern (Ashling) Henry. He is the second eldest of seven boys raised on a small farm under simple conditions and sparse resources. He learned at an early age how to be innovative and work hard; trapping mink and muskrat at age 12. Byron had a limited formal education however it didn’t hold him back; if anything, it suited his trial-and-error approach to life.
The family relocated to Nampa, Idaho in 1956 to look for better opportunities and it was there that he met his wife Becky (Mark) on a blind date set up by one of his brothers. They were married in 1959, celebrating 63 years together this past June. They had three children, Loren, Kevin, and Tami. Kevin passed away at the age of 7 from a horse-riding accident.
In 1962, Byron, along with his father-in-law, Richard Mark, purchased a small residential waste collection business and began an excavating/dump truck operation in Baker City. From those humble beginnings, Byron, with the help of family and good employees, grew what became known as Baker Valley Enterprises, Inc., a diversified business company; solid/liquid waste collection/disposal, equipment sales and service, and a multitude of other ventures, such as auto parts stores (Baker and Athena), real estate purchases, and investments. He thrived on the challenge of taking an idea and building something of value through determination and hard work.
Even with all his business commitments he always found time to prioritize his faith, his family, and his hobbies. Many knew Byron as an active member of his local church, serving in many capacities; leadership board member, Sunday school teacher, bus driver, project supervisor, and missions director. To really have known Byron is to have traveled on one of his more than 56 projects throughout the world and the United States as he coordinated the remodeling and/or building of schools, churches, parsonages, orphanages, compassion and rehabilitation centers. His passion for sharing his personal relationship with Jesus by loving others through action was infectious to many who had the opportunity to work side-by-side with him throughout 6 different continents and more than 16 different countries. Byron was open and transparent, often quick to give his opinion, which then would require the occasional apology. His favorite verse was James 4:17; “Whoever knows what is right and doesn’t do it, to him it is sin.” Byron lived life by that principle, always willing to lend a helping hand to others when the Lord laid it upon his heart.
Byron loved his family and extended family dearly. Every job, mission trip, or vacation always included a large group he called family. He was the type of dad and grandfather that always supported his family's ambitions and goals, traveling long-distances to sporting events, academic accomplishments, and major milestones. He set the bar high for his kids, but he never asked them to do anything that he wouldn’t be willing to do himself. Byron’s eyes literally lit up whenever he was around children, especially his grandchildren and great-grandchildren, always able to make a connection on their level. He would often say, "Here comes trouble.” He loved to tease! He was affectionately known as “Big Papa” to them.
Byron had a lot of hobbies, some didn’t last, others consumed much of his time, especially later in life. He loved to fly airplanes, ride motorcycles, and ATVs, usually with a work or hunting objective in mind. Hunting and fishing were always part of his DNA, with the strongest pull towards hound dogs and the Alaskan wilderness. Even as the effects of dementia began to strip away his long-term memories, we could still name a favorite dog, a specific moose hunt in British Columbia, or a drift boat trip on the Kenai River and a smile would reach his face. Everything Dad did had an element of fun to it, if you could keep up!
Byron is survived by his wife, Becky of Baker City, Oregon; son and daughter-in-law, Loren and Sue Henry of Baker City, Oregon, daughter and son-in-law, Tami and Kerry Rayborn of Baker City, Oregon; grandchildren, David Henry of Bozeman, Montana, Stephen (Jenny) Henry of Baker City Oregon, Kori (Myles) Goudy of Meridian, Idaho, and Jesse Rayborn of Boise, Idaho; great grandchildren, Zach, Lil’ Byron, and Charlene Henry of Bozeman, Montana, Wendi and Ellie Henry of Baker City, Oregon, Elizabeth and Rebekah Goudy of Meridian, Idaho; brothers, George (Vi) Henry of Nampa, Idaho, Meredith Henry of Payette, Idaho, Karl (Judi) Henry of Nampa, Idaho, sister-in-law, Marianne Henry of Nampa, Idaho, twin brothers, Joe (Nancy) Henry of Nampa, Idaho, and Jim Henry of Caldwell, Idaho; he is also survived by his loving in-laws, Richard (Tamee) Mark of Nampa, Idaho, Dan (Linda) Mark of Baker City, Oregon, Leona (Al) Knapp of Nampa, Idaho, David (Eva) Mark of Bellevue, Washington, Lynn (Joe) Roberts of Culver, Oregon, and all of his nieces and nephews on both sides along with a host of dear long-time friends.
Byron is preceded in death by his son, Kevin Henry; parents, John and Fern Henry; twin great grandsons, Quintan and Speedy Henry; brother, Les Henry; twin great nephews, Seth and Caleb Henry; great nephew, Karl Henry, and sister-in-laws, Mary Henry and Shirley Henry. He was also preceded in death by his wife’s parents, Richard and Rebecca Mark; niece, Wendee Mark, and nephew, Clinton Knapp.
The family of Byron would like to thank his caregivers, Dr. Neil Carroll, and Heart ‘n Home Hospice for their excellent and tender care. Contributions in the memory of Byron may be sent to the Baker City Church of the Nazarene at 1250 Hughes Lane, Baker City, Oregon 97814 (memo: Byron Henry Memorial) for a special project.
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Baker City Church of the Nazarene
1250 Hughes Lane, Baker City OR 97814