A legacy of carpentry, cheesecake and community
Richard Byers (Carpentry '80) exemplified community, mentorship and the art of carpentry – a legacy his wife and five daughters hope to share with NSCC students through the Richard Byers Memorial Bursary.
“We’re working to carry our dad’s legacy and passion forward through the bursary by providing training to individuals that share a similar passion,” says Richard’s daughter Philicity Byers.
Established by the Byers family, this bursary will support carpentry students at Richard’s alma mater, NSCC’s Lunenburg Campus.
Richard lived his entire life in Lunenburg and was the award-winning carpenter behind countless restorations, renovations, designs and buildings of homes in the community.
He spent 34 years building his business, Byers Custom Carpentry, and was nominated for an Atlantic Wood Design Award in 2019.
“Richard won a Town of Lunenburg award for a home on Kaulbach Street for successfully blending an addition that contributes positively to the original structure’s design,” says Philicity.
“He also won a Nova Scotia Home Award for the Kaulbach House Inn, acknowledging his extraordinary achievement in the field of housing in Nova Scotia.”
Through his business, Richard regularly hired people without experience to teach and mentor them. “He thought everyone deserved a chance and an opportunity to learn,” says Michelle Byers of her late father.
“He believed that everyone had potential, they just needed to be given a chance and the right tools. And he had the tools and a helping hand to make it happen.”
Cheesecake for charity
Richard was always helping others and giving back to the community, a generosity that his daughters say stuck with them. In fact, it was his loving tradition of supporting the local school band’s dessert auction that inspired the award’s first fundraiser, a cheesecake raffle.
“Every year, our mom made a cheesecake to donate, and it often would be one of the highest bid-on items, as her cheesecakes became quite famous” says Olivia Byers. “The funny part was that half of the time, our dad was the winning bidder and we took the cheesecake home with us.”
The Byers family’s cheesecake raffle raised over $3,000 to help establish an endowment for Richard’s memorial award. Given the challenging logistics of baking all of the cheesecakes in two days, they reached out to NSCC for help.
“NSCC welcomed us to their Kingstec Campus to create our cheesecakes. We had access to their state-of-the-art teaching kitchen,” says Michelle. NSCC Chef Peter Dewar, Culinary Management faculty, worked with the family on both days, answering any questions and helping along the way.
The Richard Byers Memorial Bursary
The Byers family has raised over $13,000 since April 2022, bringing them almost halfway to their goal of $30,000 to establish an endowment for the award.
In addition to donating online to the Richard Byers Memorial Bursary, Philicity says people can support the award by “giving it a share on social media, spreading it by word of mouth, buying tickets to future fundraisers, and enjoying the memories of our dad with us.”
“Part of the bursary program will include a financial gift; however, we want to include a mentorship aspect as well,” says Michelle.
“This is our way of keeping our dad’s tradition of teaching and helping alive.”