Christian 17

Winifred "Win" S. Byker

August 14, 1933 ~ July 3, 2023 (age 89) 89 Years Old


Winifred “Win” Byker of Alton, New Hampshire, 89, departed for Heaven on July 3, 2023 from her home of forty years, with her family around her for her last two weeks on earth. Win was born August 14, 1933 in Hull, IA and grew up in Bergen County, NJ. She graduated from Calvin College in Grand Rapids, MI with a B.A. in Education in 1956, and then from the University of Michigan with a Master’s Degree in Physical Education. In the mid-1950’s, Win worked as a teacher at Unity Christian High School, where she met Don Byker, her husband of more than fifty-eight years. Win and Don were married on August 14, 1958, and they had two children: Wendy, born in 1960 and who died unexpectedly in 1998; and Patrick, born in 1965. 

Win was an avid reader and a great student of history, especially WW II, since the victory over Japan ending the War was announced on her twelfth birthday. She enjoyed gardening around the family property in Alton. She delighted in watching NCAA basketball, the Boston sports teams, and her beloved Michigan Wolverines. Win’s vocational life included serving as women’s collegiate basketball coach and physical education instructor at Calvin College in the late 1950’s and early 1960’s, and as women’s basketball coach at Gordon College in Wenham, MA from 1978-81, garnering a conference championship during her tenure at Gordon. 

Win’s crowning vocational achievement, however, was serving for more than forty years as the archery instructor at Camp Brookwoods in Alton, NH, starting in 1979. An estimated 5,000 campers learned archery from Win, the vast majority of whom were boys ages 10 to 16. Through archery, Win taught her campers that success is built upon humility, perseverance, attention to detail, hard work and self-control. Around 500 of these 5,000 campers obtained the coveted award of “American Archer,” the highest distinction bestowed by the national Camp Archery Association. Win kept meticulous records and had an uncanny memory of her individual campers, remembering distance and point totals they had achieved the previous year. 

Win was a coach who exhibited a profound tenderness and understanding for boys who needed to prove something to themselves. Win also coached some girls who needed extra attention to overcome obstacles and achieve their archery goals. A recurring highlight during those forty summers at Camp Brookwoods was the Closing Campfire, when the aforementioned American Archers would receive their personalized arrow from Win, along with the recognition and satisfaction that accompanies the award. 

At the end of each camp session, long lines of campers and parents would be at Win’s award table to obtain archery patches and medals that represent each distance and point total. Over forty years, some parents who became American Archers under Win’s tutelage were able to see their children accomplish the same noteworthy feat. Win also became a fixture at the “alumni camp” at the end of each summer, when adults come back to Brookwoods to see if they recall Win’s teaching and if their arrows will still hit the target. Win spent time in the winter months repairing the myriad of broken arrows that inevitably followed each summer. 

Including her campers, Win’s legacy within the Kingdom of God rests on her love for each person in her community throughout her life, especially her fellow staff members at Camp Brookwoods and Deer Run. She always had a strong hug, and often had words of wisdom and encouragement from the Holy Spirit for her camp colleagues, showing them how much our Father in Heaven loves each one of His children. Win knew the Father’s love, and lived a life reflecting Jesus’ words, “the Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve.” 

Win is survived by her son and daughter-in-law Patrick and Ingrid Byker, her son-in-law and daughter-in-law Guy and Patience Wood, sister and brother-in-law Janet and Bob Beach, sister-in-law Margaret Nyhof, nieces Lisa Sheurmann Clouser, Alison Cox and Marjorie Beach, nephew Keith Nyhof, and grandchildren Thomas Wood, Helen Wood and Joshua Byker. 

A celebration of Win’s life will be held at Camp Brookwoods on Sunday, Sept. 24, 2023 at 4:00 p.m. Instead of flowers, Win asked for donations to be made to the Christian Camps and Conferences General Fund. Please visit the camp’s website: Or checks can be made payable to Christian Camps and Conferences and sent to CCCI, 34 Camp Brookwoods Rd, Alton NH 03809, memo: Win Byker.

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Celebration of Life
September 24, 2023

Camp Brookwoods
34 Camp Brookwood Road
Alton, NH 03809


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