Dr. William Robert Eberly, 84, North Manchester, Ind., died Thursday, July 28, 2011 at his summer home on Big Chapman Lake, Warsaw, Ind. Eberly was a prominent historian, writer, and editor in the Brethren movement, having been for many years the editor of the monograph series for the Brethren Encyclopedia Board. He is also editor of The Complete Writings of Alexander Mack, published by BMH Books of Winona Lake, Ind.
Eberly was born in North Manchester, Ind., on October 4, 1926, to John H. & Ollie (Heaston) Eberly. On June 30, 1946, he married Eloise Whitehead. She survives.
Also surviving are three daughters, Diana (Barry) Bucher, North Manchester, IN; Brenda (Tom) Horein, Elkhart, IN; Sandra (John) Wenger, Harrisonburg, VA. Ten grandchildren and seven great-grandchildren. Two brothers, Wayne (Wilda) Eberly, Palmyra, PA and J. David (Ann) Eberly, Hagerstown, MD.
He graduated from Huntington High School in 1944 and received his Bachelors degree from Manchester College in 1948. Following graduation, he taught music and science in the public school for five years. He received his Masters 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 Eberly was invited as a visiting scientist to the Institute of Limnology at the University of Uppsala in Sweden. He also 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 1992, developing a program for outdoor education at the Koinonia Nature Preserve for public school and college students.
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 environment concerns.
Dr. Eberly was a member of the Manchester Church of the Brethren. As an ordained minister in the Church of the Brethren, he had served many congregations, including Pleasant View Church of the Brethren in South Whitley, Roann Church of the Brethren in Roann, and Buffalo Church of the Brethren in Buffalo, Indiana. He also served on the Church of the Brethren General Board for two terms and was Annual Conference Secretary for ten years. In 1980 he served as moderator of the denomination. He was also a former instructor in church history for Bethany Seminary.
He had a passion for genealogy, history, and research. As a result he had authored and edited many books, most recently, The Story of the Natural Sciences at Manchester College. He was a member of the Brethren Encyclopedia Board of Directors from 1985-2008. He was a member and 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 in North Manchester. In addition to his many life accomplishments, Dr. Eberly was an avid fisherman, photographer, and collector. He loved his family and his church. He will be remembered for his kindness, his gentle demeanor, and his strong faith.
A memorial service celebrating the life of Dr. William Robert Eberly will be held Sunday, August 14, 2011 at 3 p.m. in Manchester Church of the Brethren, 1306 Beckley Street, North Manchester, IN. His family will receive friends at the church following the service. Private burial will be at Oaklawn Cemetery, North Manchester, IN. Final care has been entrusted to McKee Mortuary, 1401 State Road 114 West, North Manchester, IN.
For those wishing to honor the memory of Dr. Eberly, memorial contributions may be made to the Dr. William R. Eberly Scholarship Fund at Manchester College, 604 E. College Ave., North Manchester, IN 46962; The Center for History, 120 E. Main Street, North Manchester, IN 46962; Heifer Project International, PO Box 8058, Little Rock, AR 7220; or Timbercrest Senior Living Community Charitable Assistance Fund, PO Box 501, North Manchester, IN 46962. To send a private condolence to the Eberly family, click the Condolence link on the home page.