Remembrance: Dr. William Robert Eberly, Former Moderator of the Church of the Brethren

“Yes we do have confidence, and we would rather be away from the body and at home with the Lord. So whether we are at home or away, we make it our aim to please him.” (2 Corinthians 5:8-9)

Dr. William Robert Eberly, 84, passed away on July 28, 2011, at his summer home on Big Chapman Lake, Warsaw, Ind.  He served as moderator of the Church of the Brethren in 1980 and as Annual Conference secretary from 1968 to 1977. He also served as a member of the Church of the Brethren General Board from 1995 to 2000, and as a member of the Brethren Encyclopedia board of directors from 1985 to 2008. An ordained minister in the Church of the Brethren, he served many congregations, including Pleasant View Church of the Brethren in South Whitley, Ind., Roann (Ind.) Church of the Brethren, and Buffalo (Ind.) Church of the Brethren. He was a member of the Manchester Church of the Brethren, North Manchester, Ind.

Eberly was born in North Manchester Oct. 4, 1926 to John H. and Ollie (Heaston) Eberly, and married Eloise Whitehead in 1946. After receiving his bachelor’s degree from Manchester College in 1948, he taught music and science in public schools for five years. He received his master’s degree and Ph.D. from Indiana University and in 1955 joined the faculty of Manchester College as a professor in the biology department. In 1963 he was invited as a visiting scientist to the Institute of Limnology at the University of Uppsala in Sweden.

Eberly served as past president of Indiana Academy of Sciences. He started the Environmental Studies program at Manchester College in 1972 and served as its director until his retirement in 1992. He served on the Indiana Pesticide Review Board representing limnologists of the State of Indiana and received the Sagamore of the Wabash Award from Gov. Robert Orr in 1983 for his strong advocacy for environmental concerns. He is also a former instructor in church history for Bethany Seminary. His passion for genealogy, history, and research led him to author and edit many books, most recently The Story of the Natural Sciences at Manchester College.

Active in his community, he was immediate past president of the North Manchester Historical Society, where he played a significant role in developing and expanding the Center for History on Main Street.

A memorial service will be held Aug. 14 at 3:00 p.m. at Manchester Church of the Brethren. Memorial contributions may be made to the Dr. William R. Eberly Scholarship Fund at Manchester College, the Center for History in North Manchester, Heifer International, or Timbercrest Senior Living Community Charitable Assistance Fund.

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