Ivan Charles Bys, 1922-2015

Ivan C. Bys

Ivan C. Bys

The Rev. Ivan Charles Bys, 93, passed away peacefully on Oct. 18, 2015, in Tahlequah, Okla.

He was born in 1922 in Fairfax, Iowa, to Esther Marie and Frank Henry Bys. As a boy, he was active in the Bohemian-Moravian Church near Ely, Iowa, where he learned to worship in spite of the fact he did not understand the Bohemian language. The family moved to Center Point, Iowa, during his first year in school and was active in The Evangelical Church which became Evangelical United Brethren and finally United Methodist. The family moved to Walford/Amana, Iowa, during his first year in high school. He graduated from Norway High School.

In the spring of 1941, a tornado struck the Bys farm, destroying all but the house. He said this event “got my attention” and provided the setting for his call to the ministry. His co-pastors, Emma and Irving Arnold, persuaded him to conduct services at Swisher, a nearby town, and there he found himself “on the right track.”

In 1942, he enrolled in Coe College in Cedar Rapids, Iowa, beginning eight years of academic studies. Through the Arnolds, he began to hear about Ada Caroline Clark, a parishioner at one of the Arnolds’ five churches. As a young girl, Ada felt she would be the wife of a minister, and this came to be on June 4, 1942. They spent their honeymoon at Annual Conference, where he received his first pastoral appointment to Mineral Ridge and Mackay. He entered Simpson College in Indianola, graduating in 1948.

Bys’ schooling was interrupted by World War II. He entered the U.S. Army in March of 1943 and was honorably discharged in November of 1945. His seminary training was at Boston University School of Theology, where he was ordained a Methodist pastor in 1952. While there he pastored the Saxonville (Mass.) Methodist Church.

In addition to the churches named above, Bys served Norwalk/Linn Grove/Spring Hill, Lanesboro, Carroll, Perry, Waterloo, Osceola and Des Moines Staves Memorial, all in Iowa. He retired in 1980 from the Iowa Conference of the United Methodist Church and he and Ada moved to Bella Vista, Ark.

While in Bella Vista, Bys and his wife were very active in Lions International, organizing the Bentonville Noon Lions Club; he also became the state membership chair. He worked two years for Cooper Communities until the Lord called him back to the ministry in 1982.

Bys served First UMC Russellville, Bella Vista UMC, Wesley UMC Russellville and Highfill UMC before his retirement from the Arkansas Conference of the United Methodist Church in 1994. In 2001, he and Ada moved to Go Ye Village in Tahlequah, Okla., where they continued their involvement in the United Methodist Church.

He was preceded in death by his parents; his brother, Glenn (Eva); his beloved wife of 64 years, Ada; a son-in-law, Tom Woodin, and a daughter-in-law, Linda. He is survived by a sister, Leona Sandersfeld of Dewey, Ariz.; three sons, Neil (Bernice) of San Antonio, Texas; Evan of Garland, Texas; and Roger (Sida) of Gurnee, Ill.; daughter Deanna (David Bothwell) of Billings, Mont.; and foster daughter Bobi Woodin of Creston, Iowa; eight grandchildren, 20 great-grandchildren, many nieces and nephews and a host of friends.

A Celebration of Life was held Saturday, Oct. 31, at First UMC Tahlequah, Okla. In lieu of flowers, donations may be sent to First UMC, 300 W. Delaware, Tahlequah, OK 74464.