Mr. Gene Byrd of Leonardtown, Maryland passed away Thursday July 22, 2020 after complications from lung surgery to remove what was thought to be the last remnants of cancer he battled for the past year. Gene moved to Maryland in April of 2018 after his wife and love of his life, Carol Byrd passed away in Columbia SC. He was immensely proud of his children Daphne Martin (John) of Leonardtown, MD, Mark Byrd (Rachel) of Elgin, SC, Jody Dean (Rick) of Lexington Park, MD, and Rick Byrd (Laura) of Blythewood, SC, and his 15 grandchildren, and 14 great-grandchildren. He has two more great-grandchildren on the way. His death was preceded by his mother, father, and two brothers. He considered himself the "Last Mohican" of the Byrd Family.
Gene was born in Wilmington, NC and was raised in Florence, SC. A tool and die maker by trade, Gene became a successful manufacturing engineer in Columbia SC and was known to “get the job done” using his outstanding work ethic and passion for doing whatever it takes. He "retired" at the age of 71 from Ambac International but worked with many organizations in the Midlands of South Carolina over his career. He also enjoyed 5 years teaching Machine Tool Technology at Spring Valley Vocational Center in the 1980's. He believed that teaching students a technical trade could give many the start needed to succeed. Many of his students stayed connected with him throughout their careers.
Gene loved gardening and had beautiful flowers and plants displayed at his home in South Carolina that he tended with great care. His other passion was traveling to his beach "cottage" in Shallotte NC where you could find him on any beautiful weekend. He loved old movies, 50's and 60's music and often called John Wayne his hero. He was a Southern gentleman that believed in opening doors for others, saying please, thank you, and always treating others with kindness and respect. He was a giver and would do anything to help others. He loved steak, baked potatoes, and always had a display of sweets and treats available for his grandchildren, visitors and of course himself. You would always see him walking around with a huge smile and carrying his glass of sweet tea!
After moving to Maryland, he opened a small business called The Byrd's Nest of Southern Maryland located in the Shepherd's Old Field Market (SOF) of Leonardtown and the Leonardtown Maryland Antique Center. He enjoyed greeting and getting to know all of the customers and was often called the heartbeat of the SOF market. He was quite a charmer and was known to tell everyone he was "marvelous" when asked how he was doing. He was the sunshine for so many and a friend to everyone he met.
A South Carolina Celebration of Life will be held August 30th, 2020 at Doko Manor 100 Alvina Hagood Cir Blythewood, SC 29016 from 3:00-5:00 pm.
In lieu of flowers contributions can be made to the Byrd Memorial Fund https://www.gofundme.com/f/gene-byrd-memorial or search for the Gene Byrd Memorial on gofundme.com