Loretta Beyer’s mission lives on in her blogs, books – Alpena News | Start Classified


News photo by Darby Hinkley “Ebony & Ivory: A Tale of Two Cultures” is available from Olivet Book & Gift in downtown Alpena, with the majority of each sale going towards teaching farmers in Zimbabwe sustainable practices. The book is a compilation of blog posts by the late Loretta Beyer, a loving Christian who was born to missionaries in present-day Zimbabwe and taught in Alpena for many years before becoming terminally ill and passing away in March 2021. Above: Olivet Book & Gift Owner Mary Rajasekhar holds up some copies of Beyer’s book.


ALPENA — Loretta Beyer loved people – her students, family and friends in the US and around the world.

Born to missionaries in what is now Zimbabwe, Africa, she had a heart for the people she grew up with there.

Loretta Beyer passed away on March 27, 2021 after a long illness, but left a legacy of love.

Thankfully, she blessed her friends with a series of blog posts that she began in mid-December 2020 after her cancer became very serious. Now those blog posts have been turned into a book called Ebony & Ivory: A Tale of Two Cultures, a memoir and tribute by Loretta Beyer.

The book is available now from Olivet Book & Gift in downtown Alpena. Everyone who buys a book not only takes home an inspiring collection of Loretta Beyer’s thoughts and feelings, but also helps Zimbabwe’s farmers. The books cost $14.99, of which $10.50 goes to a nonprofit organization that helps educate farmers about sustainable practices so they can successfully make a living from farming.

“This book has been put together and it’s so beautiful,” said Mary Rajasekhar, owner of Olivet Book & Gift.

Loretta Beyer’s husband, Daryl Beyer, will donate $10.50 from every book sale to an organization called Foundations for Farming. Learn more at foundationsforfarming.org.

“It’s cool that they’re taking that and making it a continuation of the ministry,” Rajasekhar said, adding that Loretta Beyer would have loved it if this was a way to plant more seeds, especially in her beloved home country of Zimbabwe.

Rajasekhar said she has 15 copies in store and 100 more on order, which should arrive by the end of July.

Daryl Beyer said Foundations for Farming is a Christian organization so there will also be a spiritual aspect woven into the teaching.

He misses his wife, as do many others in the community. She had a sweet, giving spirit and a kind heart.

“She had a real heart for people,” Daryl Beyer said, adding that she would always chat with people at the grocery store while he sauntered off because he knew it was going to be a while. He added that she genuinely cared about people and their well-being, be it physical, mental or spiritual.

“She felt her work was a service, more than just work,” he added. “She felt so fulfilled, like she was mentoring people… She felt like she had the best job in the world.”

Loretta Beyer taught music at Alpena Community College for several decades and gave piano lessons at her home.

The Beyers were married for 41 years. Their children are Krystal Beyer Collins and Brad Beyer. Loretta Beyer was 64 when she died.

“She knew where she was going, and she said, ‘It’s going to be difficult to get there,'” her husband said. “She just accepted it.”

The News publishes Loretta Beyer’s diary entries, with permission from her family, as part of Everyday Faith’s Saturday columnists. It all started with Michelle Smith, a good friend of Loretta Beyer and a columnist for Everyday Faith for The News.

“As I read these blog posts, I’m like, ‘Oh my god, other people need to hear this! That’s incredible,'” said Smith. “Because she wrote such poignant things. You know, at this time in your life things get reduced when you know you are facing eternity. It just boils everything down to ‘What’s the most important thing?’”

So Smith reached out to Loretta Beyer to see if she would be interested, and she was more than happy for the opportunity.

“She just lit up and she got the biggest smile on her face and she said, ‘I would love it,'” Smith said of Loretta Beyer, who was weak and in her hospital bed at the time. “I said, ‘Loretta, your words will live on and the people of Alpena will be touched by what you wrote… It’s so powerful, and you can know it will go far beyond anything you’ve ever done I could have imagined.'”

Smith also got the green light from Loretta Beyer’s family, and her columns began running in the newspaper the week after her funeral.

“Basically, the columns are these blog posts,” Smith explained. “I send them in every month. I was thrilled when I heard they were going to put it in a book.”

Daryl Beyer said Dawn Mantas was instrumental in putting the book together and printing it.

Smith added that Loretta Beyer knew the book was being put together before she died.

She was a devout Christian and a member of the Word of Life Baptist Church in Alpena. Beyer also attended weekly prayer meetings for intercession at New Life Christian Fellowship, where Michelle Smith and her husband, Gary Smith, are pastors.

“Every Thursday we always prayed for Zimbabwe and her precious people because she cared about them,” recalled Michelle Smith.

“She was a very caring person,” added Michelle Smith. “But she was a very private person. So it was really a big deal that she said ‘yes’ to that.”

“She was a very deep, deep person,” she added. “She was spiritually deep, she was a deep thinker, she was very compassionate. She loved people. You were never a stranger to her. She was very sensitive and intuitive.”

Michelle Smith added that Loretta Beyer reached out to those in society who might need more support than others.

“She would make sure to reach out to you if you were the one who was kind of on the fringes of a gathering,” Michelle Smith said. “She smiled at you and let you know that you were noticed and appreciated.”

Loretta Beyer not only had deep relationships with people – she had a deep relationship with her master.

“She prayed for people and really knew their God,” said Michelle Smith. “And knew that prayer is a very wonderful gift and she used it regularly. She prayed for the people all the time.”

“I am overwhelmed and humbled by the continued outpouring of love,” Loretta Beyer wrote on December 22, 2020. “Having you as a part of my village is what has carried me through and will continue to carry me through. I find much comfort in his word and wanted to share one thing in particular that I declare and claim as my own.”

2 Timothy 4:7-8 says, “I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race, I have kept the faith. Therefore a crown of righteousness is prepared for me, which the Lord, the righteous Judge, shall give me in that day; and not only to me, but also to those who love his appearance.”

“God bless you all,” Loretta Beyer continued. “I love you so much.”

You can reach Lifestyle Editor Darby Hinkley at dhinkley@thealpenanews.com or 989-358-5691.



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