Item 38 - Nov. 20, 1930 : Nikolsk, U.S.S.R.

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Nov. 20, 1930 : Nikolsk, U.S.S.R.

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  • November 20, 1930 (Photography)

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1 photograph : b&w ; 6 x 9 cm

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Biographical history

Harry Byers was born in Brodhagen, Logan Township on July 31st, 1896 to Andrew Byers and Caroline Graul. Byers married his wife, Violet Boyers on October 21, 1929 in Burlington, Iowa. Violet was born to John and Sarah (nee Murray) in Missouri on November 15, 1908. Together they had four children before Violet died April 15 1943 in Listowel, Ontario due to complications from childbirth. Their children were: Robert John (May 12, 1932), Jean Mildred (October 20, 1933), James Allen (January 20, 1942), and Shirley Marie (April 3, 1943).

After serving in WWI for both Canada and the United States, Harry was honorably discharged for medical reasons in 1918 due to arthritis in his left knee. After the war, Harry worked as an instructor at the Kansas Sweeney Automotive and Electrical School in the 1920's. He was then employed by the Grain Trust to go to the USSR from 1930-1931 to instruct Russians in the operation of large machinery, as part of the First Russian Five Year Plan. Violet went to Russia with him and the two kept a diary of events of their time in the country. Byers lived and worked in Grozny, Moscow, and Nikolsk (now Ussuriysk) among others. The couple returned to the United States and lived in Iowa until 1938 when they returned to Canada to settle in the Waterloo Region.

Byers lived his final years Kitchener, Ontario where he worked as a City Cab Company dispatcher and was a member of the St. Matthew's Lutheran Church. He and his wife Lorraine (nee McKay) lived at 27 Onward Ave. Byers died on July 13, 1957 at the Kitchener-Waterloo Hospital after a short illness. He was buried in a soldier's plot at Woodland Cemetery.

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Snapshot of Harry Byers (at right) with an unidentified man, standing at the altar in a church in Russia. Taken in the city of Nikolsk (Ussuriysk)

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