William Garland Byrd

April 28, 2021

William Garland Byrd passed away on April 22, 2021 at his home in Molino, FL.

Garland (as he was called by close family) or Bill (as he preferred and was known to friends, neighbors, and co-workers) enjoyed a long and rich life. He will be remembered as a faithful and devoted husband, a loving dad, a proud Pa Pa, an avid Alabama fan, and a humble Christian man, content to enjoy the simple pleasures of life.

He was born at home in Frisco City, AL on October 22, 1932, an only child to Lamar and Lola Mae Byrd. Life was more difficult after his father died at Bill’s young age of 13, but he and his mother continued to build a life for themselves in Frisco City. A football and basketball player for Frisco City High School, he met an Excel High School cheerleader, Bobbie Dove, and the two were married on August 9, 1953.

Soon after his 1950 high school graduation, Bill joined the United States Air Force. His four-year military service took him to Korea during the Korean War, as well as assignments at Lackland Air Force base in San Antonio, TX, at Chillicothe Business School in MO, at Robins AFB in Macon, GA, and at Bolling Air Force base in Washington, D.C. He received an early discharge to attend college at the University of Alabama where he majored in mechanical engineering. Daughter Selinda was born during Bill’s final college term in May of 1958.

Bill accepted a job at Chemstrand in Pensacola, FL soon after college graduation and his family of three relocated from Tuscaloosa, AL to the panhandle of Florida. In October of 1964, their family grew to four as they welcomed son Scott. The ensuing years were filled with family life and vacations, fishing, occasional scuba diving excursions, reading, remodeling their house, and his job at Monsanto (formerly Chemstrand). Bill and Bobbie purchased a beach cottage on East Bay where the family enjoyed weekends and summers for many years.

Work took Bobbie and Bill to Guntersville, AL in the fall of 1977 for four years until the Sand Mountain plant closed. Bill was then sent to school at Washington University in St Louis, MO for a year, but chose to settle near Pensacola, FL when the opportunity arose after his schooling was complete.

In 1982, Bill and Bobbie bought their current house and property out in Molino, FL. Bill retired from Monsanto in 1985, after 27 years of service. Post-retirement years were filled with travel, especially drives cross-country to Oregon to visit their daughter’s family. When at home, Bill spent happy hours doing projects out in his shop, while listening to his beloved country music and tunes from the 1940’s & 1950’s. He cherished his role as loving Pa Pa when his two grandchildren visited from the west coast. When his health declined and mobility became a struggle, he spent more time indoors, reading, watching TV, & enjoying peaceful country living.

For a number of years, Bill was an active member of Aldersgate United Methodist Church. He held various positions of service such as Chairman of the Trustees and Chairman of the Building Committee during the building of the church’s Sunday school wing. He attended the men’s club. Sadly, as he got older and could not hear well or move around as easily, his participation decreased.

Too, as he aged, Bill battled health issues, including diabetes, heart problems, and difficulty with mobility. He was severely ill the last six months of his life with a number of random serious conditions that forced him to spend much time in the hospital and multiple Rehab facilities. His final days were spent at home where he was cared for by his wife, Bobbie, with the help of the “earthly angels” of Covenant Hospice. God called Bill home on April 22, 2021.

He was preceded in death by his father, William Lamar Byrd, and his 107-year-old mother, Lola Mae Cohron Byrd Loth.

He is survived by his loving wife of 67 years, Bobbie Dove Byrd, his daughter Selinda and son-in-law Dan Smith of West Linn, OR, his son Scott and daughter-in-law Tobbe Byrd of Gulf Breeze, FL, his two grown grandchildren: Ryan Smith of Charleston, SC and Lauren Smith of West Linn, OR,
and his beloved 4-legged canine children, Roxie and Rascal.

A quiet man, not prone to many words and not overly sentimental, Bill was nonetheless a man of integrity and character, who valued honesty and hard work. He loved his family with all his heart, spent his entire life providing well for them, and was loved and cherished in return. He leaves behind a legacy of service to his country, his community, his workplace, and his church. And he leaves behind an even greater legacy of love and pride for his family, as well as a wealth of warm memories that will forever live on in the hearts and minds of those who knew and loved him.

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