Melvin W. Byers, 58, a retired Army chief warrant officer who was active in Masonic organizations, died of cancer Saturday in Alexandria Hospital.
He worked as national secretary-treasurer of the National Sojourners, a Masonic organization, from 1963 to 1970, and again from 1975 until retiring for reasons of health two years later.
Between 1970 and 1974, Mr. Byers owned and operated a gourment jelly business in Florida.
He was born in Clinton, Iowa, and enlisted in the Army in 1937. During World War II, he served with a joint American-Canadian commando unit, the 1st Special Service Force, and saw action in both Europe and the Pacific.
Mr. Byers served in Korea during the conflict there. His last assignment was as an administrative officer in the office of the Inspector General, a post he held for three years before retiring from the Army in 1963.
His medals included the Purple Heart and the Bronze Star.
He was a 33rd degree Scottish Rite Mason, and was a past national president of the National Sojourners. He held the Purple Cross from the York Rite Governor's General College. He was a member of the Alexandria Washington Masonic Lodge No. 22.
He also belonged to the Springfield Post of the American Legion and the Military Order of World Wars.
Mr. Byers was a member of St. Andrew's United Methodist Church in Alexandria.
He is survived by his wife, Stella, of the home in Alexandria; a son, Richard, serving with the Navy in San Diego, and two grandchildren.