Hazel Hortense West Byers was born April 4, 1938, in Kansas City, Kansas from the union of Isaiah (Ike) West and Elizabeth West Dillard. She was the third of four children. She is preceded in death by her parents, her husband James (Hard Rock) Edward Byers; her brother, Fred West, and sister, Eleanor West-Scott, daughter, Melanie Lynn Young, and great granddaughter, Kyra Lynn Young.
Hazel’s education began in the Kansas City, Kansas public schools. She graduated from Sumner High school in 1956. She was a majorette following her “big sister”, Bobbi. The West sisters held it “down” at Sumner High school! She was beautiful and enjoyed being a majorette, and represented Sumner High in grand fashion.
On November 14, 1964, she was joined in holy matrimony to James (Hard Rock) Edward Byers. Lovingly together they raised six children, Melanie Young-Halliburton (deceased), Roxanne Byers (Shawnee, KS), Suzanne Young-Carson (Kansas City, KS), Michele Byers (Kansas City, KS), Edward Byers (Kansas City, KS) and Talisha Byers-Kouakou (Perkasie, PA).
Hazel during her journey on earth was employed by Blue Cross Blue Shield and the Internal Revenue Service. However, employment in the private and government sector was brief. She was passionate about her family and assumed the role as a domestic engineer. She was a God-fearing, loving mother, full of godly wisdom and the Holy Spirit. She was an “Intercessor” for her family and friends. She was a renowned “Care Giver” for her immediate family and extended family.
Hazel enjoyed traveling with her big sister, Bobbi; together they toured the Mediterranean (Paris, Versailles, London, Venice, Rome, Florence, Athens, and the Greek Isles). She traced the steps of Apostle Paul. Oh, how she enjoyed that trip! She was blessed to travel to the Holy Land with her friend, Ann Bridgewater, and was baptized in the Jordan River. She also had the pleasure of traveling to the Ivory Coast a country in West Africa to attend her daughter’s wedding. She traveled to Cancun, Mexico for her 70th birthday with her children and grandchildren. She even traveled to Jamaica for her granddaughter’s 30th birthday celebration. Hazel traveled through-out the United States (Florida, New York, North Carolina, Pennsylvania, Texas, Georgia, Tennessee, Arkansas, DC, South Dakota, California, Michigan, Illinois, Maryland, Mississippi, Minnesota, and Connecticut). She also had the opportunity to attend the inauguration of the first elected Black president, Barack Obama, with her family, and what a joyous occasion that was!
Hazel engaged with her children and grandchildren, and could be counted on for having a listening ear, support, and being an active participant in events in their lives. She wanted the best for her children and encouraged getting an education. If college wasn’t suitable for her children or grandchildren, she encouraged getting a “trade”.
Hazel was concerned with how her children presented themselves. She consistently taught proper etiquette on an on-going basis. You would find her saying, “no singing at the table”, “napkins in your lap, please”, the use of verbs properly in speaking, and “no yelling at graduations”. Boy, her children and grandchildren would get so tickled at the “no yelling at graduations” because everybody else at graduations was cheering their family members on, but not the Byers children! She was a “quiet-storm” in an amazing way! Quiet, but a force to be reckoned with when it came to her family, she could pray you through, Hallelujah!
She was a member of the Amazing Grace International Ministries COGIC, Inc. under the leadership of Dr. Vernard Johnson. Prior to her membership at Amazing Grace, she was a member of the Faith Deliverance Family Worship Center under the leadership of the late Elder Lee H. Johnson (Dad Johnson), the late Elder Harold Lee Johnson, and Harold Lee Johnson, Jr. She loved the Lord and served Him with her whole heart. She was active in her local church by serving as a Sunday school teacher, YWCC President, Deacon Wives Alliance, the Mothers Board, and as a licensed Evangelist Missionary.
She served in the Kansas East Jurisdiction Women’s department under the leadership of the beloved Late Mother Roberta Thuston, Mother Mary K. Sims, Mother Betty Morrison, and Mother Novella Singleton until her health began to decline. She worked on the jurisdictional level in many roles. She had leadership roles in workshops, spoke at conferences, worked untiring with the jurisdiction communion set-up and preparation, and shared the gospel of Jesus Christ to those who did not have a relationship with Jesus Christ.
God called Hazel home to “Labor to Reward” on January14, 2021. She leaves to cherish her memory and legacy one son, Edward Jonathan Byers (Kansas City, KS), and four daughters, Suzanne Young-Carson (Kansas City, KS), Roxanne Byers (Shawnee, KS), Michele Byers (Kansas City, KS), and Talisha (Kouassi) Byers-Kouakou (Perkasie, PA). Ten grandchildren, Brian (Pamela)Young of Kansas City, KS, Don Halliburton (Kansas City, KS), Essence (Jarrett) Halliburton-Nixon (Houston, TX), TaRon Byers (Kansas City, MO), Khorey Kilgore (Kansas City, MO), Brandon Kilgore (Warrensburg, MO), Jamel Carson (Kansas City, KS), Jasmine Carson (North Carolina), Chandler Kouakou (Perkasie, PA), and Arianna Kouakou (Perkasie, PA); eight great grandchildren, nieces and nephews, along with a host of relatives, and special cousins, Margaret McGilbray (Chick) and Yulonda (Yo-Yo) Head, friends, the Faith Deliverance Church family and the Amazing Grace church family and friends.
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