My uncle, Wayne Byer has always been a hardworking man. Even in his retirement years, he likes to stay busy. In fact, he might be on the go more, now that his is retired, than he was before. That isn’t so unusual really. When I retired, my activities have multiplied…almost taken on a mind of their own. Uncle Wayne has been much that way too, but he retired long before I did, so his activities list is most likely much bigger than mine. He likes tinkering in his garage, making things, and repairing things. It gives him a sense of satisfaction.

Uncle Wayne Being a mechanic at the school bus garage, and later the head of the school bus garage, he was tasked with making sure that every bus was in good repair, so that the busses would all transport the children safely to their destination. Because we lived in town, my sisters and I didn’t have to ride the bus to school. Later, because my husband, Bob and I lived in the country when our girls were little, they took the bus to school every day. It was then that I really understood just how important my Uncle Wayne’s work was. Nothing brings safety home to you like having your kids be the ones who are being kept safe. And that’s what my uncle did…kept my kids safe, by making sure the busses were safe. My girls always liked the fact that their great uncle took care of the school buses they rode. I think they also liked it when they could tell people that it was their great uncle who headed up the garage. They were very proud of what he did.

Uncle Wayne always had a soft spot for kids. He loved to make them laugh and they loved his jokes. I remember, as a kid when he would pop his dentures out All of the kids tried really hard to do the same. We really thought there must be some trick to it…at least until we got older. Uncle Wayne loved to laugh and was always such a happy guy. It totally endeared him to all of us. Looking back on my childhood, Uncle Wayne is in many of my fondest memories. He was my mother, Collene Spencer’s younger brother, and the third in their mischievous three. Together with their brother, Larry Byer, these three managed to get under Grandma Byer’s skin more than any of the others, most of the time anyway. Nevertheless, she loved all nine of her children…even her mischievous middle three. Today is Uncle Wayne’s 85th birthday. Happy birthday Uncle Wayne!! Have a great day!! We love you!!

Birthdays are supposed to be happy events, and most are, but the birthdays that come after someone has passed away can be some of the hardest days we will ever spend. Losing a loved one leaves the family with nothing but empty space and memories. The place our loved one once filled with their presence, is now filled only with memories of someone who was, and still is, so important to us. Each first, as it arrives makes the emptiness even more pronounced. The first holiday, birthday, family dinner, or even just the mundane tasks they always helped with, are among the worst days of our new reality, but I think it is the first of those events that will always be viewed as the worst.

On October 16, 2019, our uncle, Eddie Hein had a heart attack while working in his yard. Friends and neighbors, as will as his wife, Pearl and their grandson, Dalton, all tried to help, but it was too late. Eddie was gone, but his memory will be with his many friends and family members forever. Eddie was a sweet man with a heart of gold, who was always willing to help those in need. The people of Forsyth, Montana knew Eddie well. He was a friend to all. He would wave as he drove by, and help when it was needed. Eddie was known around town as someone who could always be counted on, no matter what the need. He was there to give a smile, a hug, a wave, or a hand. Someone said that Eddie was one of God’s great ones, and I agree.

Eddie loved vintage cars, and had his own 55 Chevy that he thoroughly enjoyed. It wasn’t just the cars either, because he loved old tractors too. Eddie loved living next to the Yellowstone River. It was almost like living in the country, and it gave them enough room to have their garden. Eddie could fix just about anything. He loved tinkering around in his shop. If you needed a part for something, there was a good chance that Eddie had it or could make it. He was a great carpenter, and could help build just about anything. Eddie was a bit of a Jock of all trades, and the people of Forsyth counted on him for many things. That is a big part of what makes his passing so sad for everyone, and the only consolation is that since Eddie was a Christian man, we know that we will see him again soon. Happy first Heavenly Birthday Eddie. We love and miss you very much.

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