William Earl Dyer Jr.
(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.
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Funeral Home assisting is Aspen Mortuary, 4822 Cleveland Avenue, Lincoln, NE 68504. To view an on-line obituary or email condolences please visit Aspen Mortuary’s website at www.aspenaftercare.com.
Condolences for William Earl Dyer Jr.
While we’re saddened to hear about Earl’s passing, that sadness is more than offset by the knowledge that he lived such a full life… full of good deeds and quite notable accomplishments, full of love and lasting friendships. And for him to last to the ripe old age of 95? Way to go, Earl!
We will always cherish our memories of spending time with Earl and his family. Our lives have been enriched in untold ways.
Our hearts go out to family and friends to hear about Uncle Earl’s passing. While saddened, I also feel quite blessed to be able to regain a connection to this side of the family. Most of my memories of Uncle Earl are from visitis to see him and family in Lincoln when we were young. We were also blessed by a visit from Earl and family here in Maine in the 1990’s. When our father Jasper Lee passed away in 2004, we received a letter from Uncle Gene with memories giving an account of the lives of the 4 brothers (Earl, Lee, Gene, and Gerald) as they grew up in Nebraska. I cherish that connection to their shared history. My love and best wishes to all of Earl’s family and friends.
Earl was a Unitarian hero. He exemplified Unitarian values. His presence has been missed as he has declined. I send you my condolences.
My condolences to Earl’s family. Earl was a good friend and I will miss his presence. Especially at the Unitarian Church, the Unitarian Men’s Potluck and at the Dinner Group to which we both belonged. I admired Earl for his quiet demeaner, his tenacious hold on having an active life and for the richness of his many life experiences. Goodbye my friend.
Earl was my first editor when i was a sophomore at UNL. I don’t get back to the Unitarian Church often, but I’ll miss his smile when I do.
My best chance to know Earl was at the Unitarian Church men’s potlucks. He was a regular participant. I so admired his intellect, liberalism, and pleasant presence.
Earl and Betty were dear friends at Unitarian Church bridge games,concerts–What a wonderful life Earl had- What a legacy!
Dear Mike, Kelly and Scott,
We were sad to learn of Earl’s passing through a note from church. He was such a lively man with so many interests for a very long time. Dick and remember I lovely remember evenings with Betty and Earl as we met with the “dinner group”. They were both good cooks and always knew how to please. The conversation always came around to recipes, travel, church activities or his wonderful stories of his early years as Editor of the Lincoln Star which eventually became the Lincoln Journal Star. And not many evenings went by when we didn’t hear at least a few stories of his bike ride across Europe or the time his mother spent teaching in Turkey. Once Earl was no longer able to join in the dinners or come to church to visit with his friends he was missed. We will always remembered him fondly for all of the fun times we had with the two of them.
I’ve known Earl most of my life, first through my cousins, Bill and Webb Ray, both photographers for the Lincoln Journal Star, and then as a member of the Unitarian Church of Lincoln since 1970. Earl was an exceptional newspaper editor, and since his retirement, the Journal-Star has never even approached the standards and quality it had under Earl’s leadership. Earl was an exceptional human being.
My heart goes out to family and friends of Earl Dyer. Whenever I saw him at church, he was always upbeat and positive. I am sure his essence is still adding positivity to the universe.