Barbara Ann Stephenson Lyter was born in Indianapolis, IN on October 24, 1927. She passed away peacefully in Westerville, OH on October 5, 2018. In a life dedicated to others, her family and friends, she enjoyed what for her was a perfect final earthly day. Barbara was with her daughter and her grandson’s young family. God definitely had a hand in her last few hours as she met and held her two-day old great granddaughter. She said, “This is enough joy to last me a lifetime and into the next one.” Barbara Lyter was the daughter of the late George Herbert Stephenson and Martha Karlyn Clauser Stephenson. Her early years were spent in the family home in Zionsville, IN where along with her parents, she grew up with her maternal grandparents. She talked lovingly of that home and made annual trips to visit her grandparents, to take care of the chickens and collect the eggs with her grandmother through her college years.
Barbara’s school years were spent in Hamilton, Ohio where she was active in Girl Scouts, church choirs, school glee clubs and working as a summer park counselor. She graduated from Hamilton High School in 1945. She was part of that remarkable generation that came of age during the great depression and then worked in the home effort to win the Second World War. As part of that generation, she was determined to travel and further her education and so she left home and travelled to Westerville, Ohio to enroll at Otterbein College.
At Otterbein she majored in Psychology, was active in Kappa Phi Omega “Onyx” Sorority and was known for her prowess in swimming and tennis. Besides her studies, she worked in the dining halls and met a returning G.I., John Lyter, who she married in 1950. Following graduation, she worked at the Westerville Public Opinion while John completed Law School. Together, they established a home, cultivated friends and started a family. Their travels as a young family included, in her words, “every fort that was ever built” with additional stops along the way to visit family and friends.
Barbara Lyter was a remarkably engaged and loving mother. On the long list of things, she taught Sunday School, was a Cub Scout den and Girl Scout leader, a PTA volunteer, and a loyal driver for any kid’s activity. She attended children’s and grandchildren’s sporting events, musical performances and stage appearances and was the most avid fan. This all started with Little League games in 1960 and extended to college baseball in 2018. Besides supporting everyone, she maintained her own interests. She was a member of the New Century Book Club and while her husband had the big reputation for reading, she too always read. Even in these last years with failing eyesight, books on tape were a regular part of her day.
She was a member and officer in the American Association of University Women (AAUW), the Otterbein Women’s Club and a volunteer at the Hanby House in Westerville. She loved the theater and attended concerts and performances at Otterbein and at the Ohio Theater in Columbus where she was also a volunteer usher. Her faith in God was unshakable and sustained for many years in her membership at First Presbyterian Church in Westerville. Over the years she volunteered with the bell choir, in preparing and serving communion, participation in Bible studies and in the women’s circle. She was also elected as a Deacon. In all these activities, she invited and engaged her kids, grandchildren, their friends and anyone else who would enjoy the day.
A life well lived is filled with stories and with love. There are many to share her stories and to hold them dear. She is preceded in death by her loving husband of 61 years, John D. Lyter. Those who survive Barbara Lyter include her brother, Richard Stephenson of Hamilton Ohio and her children John Lyter (Barbara) of Indianapolis, IN, Richard Lyter (Cynthia) of Chicago, IL and Anne Bates (Tim) of Westerville, OH. Grandchildren include Jennifer Wissel (Bryce), James Lyter, Joe Dils (Kacee), Jessica Ball (Chad), Julia Bates, Tim Bates and Jack Bates. Greatgrandchildren include Cyrus Wissel, Rylee Ayn Dils and Parker Elizabeth Dils. Barbara Ann Stephenson Lyter: She taught us all what family truly means. A memorial service will be held at the First Presbyterian Church in Westerville on Saturday, October 27 at 11:00 AM with visitation at 10:30 and immediately after the service. In lieu of flowers, the family suggest a contribution to the John and Barbara Lyter Scholarship Fund at the First Presbyterian Church or to a charity of the donor’s choosing.