The Reverend John F. Byerly, Jr. was born on July 7, 1926 in Rockingham County, Virginia. He began his schooling at Linville-Edom High School, where he earned the honors of valedictorian. He attended and graduated from Roanoke College in 1950 with an AB in Philosophy and Psychology. He received the Who's Who in American Colleges and Universities from 1949-1950 from Roanoke, and was also in the Blue Key National Honor Fraternity in 1949.
He went onto graduate from the Lutheran Theological Seminary at Philadelphia with M. Div. in 1953. Following that, the reverend attended the University of Virginia, Charlottesville from 1958-1960 to take graduate courses in education and counseling. Lastly, he received his Doctor of Ministry in 1973 from the Union Seminary in Virginia, Richmond.
The Reverend served in the U.S. Navy from 1944-1946, and was aboard the U.S.S.-LCS 119. He was also the Pastor at St. Mark's Lutheran Church in Charlottesville, Virginia, and the Campus Pastor for Lutheran students at the University of Virginia. Once he moved to Williamsburg, Virginia, The Reverend became the pastor at St. Stephen Lutheran Church, and was the Campus pastor at the College of William and Mary. The Reverend finished out his career as the pastor at the First English Lutheran Church in Richmond, Virginia. Once retired, he served as a part-time assistant to the Bishop, Virginia Synod, ELCA as the Vacancy Counselor.
The Reverend served on the Board of Directors for the Williamsburg Pre-School for Special Children, and was also on the Executive Board of the Williamsburg Area Day Care Center. He was a member and Chairman of the Board of the Stuart Circle Center for Older People, and belonged to the Legislative Action Group of Richmond. The Reverend was published in SALT magazine, Lutheran Church Men topics, and Light for Today.
The Reverend was married September 26, 1953 to Evelyn Louise Punchard of Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. They had three children together; John Franklin, III, Joyce Louise, and James Earnest.
John F. Byerly, Jr. received the Roanoke College Medal in 1981.