(William) Earl Dyer, Jr. died December 23, 2022. He was 95 years old. He is survived by his son and daughter-in-law, Lee Michael “Mick” Dyer and Kelly O’Hara Dyer of Minneapolis; son Scott William Dyer of Lincoln; brother-in-law Willian “Bill” White of Grand Island; sister-in-law Marilynn Meisinger of Plattsmouth and many nieces and nephews. He was preceded in death by his wife, Elizabeth “Betty” Dyer, his father William Earl Dyer, Sr; mother Hazel Maude Dyer (Hosfelt) and brothers Eugene “Gene”, Gerald “Gerry” and Jasper Lee Dyer. A celebration of life will be scheduled at a later date.
Born in Kearney, NE, his childhood was spent in a number of small Nebraska towns where his father and mother were teachers. Growing up, his family lived in 20 different houses before settling long-term in Nebraska City, where he graduated high school. He won a Regent’s scholarship to the University of Nebraska, where he began studies in 1944.
Drafted in 1945, he served most of his time in Washington, D. C. in a message center in the Pentagon where he was a clerk preparing messages in a special log for Gen. Dwight Eisenhower, then chief of staff of the U.S. Army. He was promoted from private to technical sergeant in five months.
Returning to the University of Nebraska, he was involved with cooperative houses for male students, eventually founding Norris House, which was the first racially integrated and international residence for male NU students. He joined the staff of The Lincoln Star, then an evening paper, as a reporter while a senior at NU. He was a member of Phi Beta Kappa honorary society and Sigma Delta Chi. He graduated from NU in 1949.
Taking a leave from the newspaper in 1950 and using money received from the GI bill and his earnings, he set out on an 8 1/2-month tour of Europe by bicycle, traveling to 13 countries and visiting several foreign student members of Norris House who had returned home after study at NU. Back at The Star, he became city editor in 1952 and subsequently executive editor, retiring at age 65 in 1991.
He was passionate about equal rights throughout his life. In the early 60s he took time off from The Star one summer to volunteer with a weekly paper in Mississippi published by the Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee. He was one of the founders of Lincoln Community Developers, a group which purchased a tract of land in Lincoln for the purpose of developing inter-racial housing. He served on the board of the Malone Community Center. He was also active for years as a volunteer with Nebraska’s American Indian tribes (and was given the Omaha name Gazuba). He served on the state Indian commission and the state welfare advisory committee.
In 1967 he married Elizabeth Meisinger. After retirement, he and Betty enjoyed several trips to Europe, and he also made solo trips to Central Asia, India and China, bringing the number of countries he had visited to more than 20. He was an active bicycle rider into his early 90s and proudly owned and rode the same English-manufactured bicycle for more than 50 years.
He was a member and twice congregational president of the Unitarian Church of Lincoln; a longtime member of Lincoln’s Open Forum Club, and served on the board of Lincoln Community Concerts, organized to bring classical music to then-new Pershing Auditorium. He was a member of Lincoln Friends of Chamber Music for more than 50 years. He was also an active Democrat, participating in several political campaigns in Nebraska.
To leave a condolence please use the form below.