Byrd, Jack Francis
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76, Laveen, AZ. Passed away on July 26, after a prolonged battle with non-Hodgkins lymphoma. Jack was born in Wichita, KS. on March 7, 1933 to Dorcas Kelly and Carol M. Byrd. He attended Wichita High School East and graduated from Kansas University, Lawrence, KS., in 1954 with a BS in Business. He was President of Delta Tau Delta Fraternity, ROTC and was a KU head cheerleader. Upon graduation he joined the United States Air Force and served three years, with the last two as Finance Officer in the headquarters Squadron, Alaskan Air Command, Anchorage, AK. In 1958 he returned to Wichita, KS. and joined his family business, Byrd-Snodgrass Funeral Home. In January 1961, he and a partner purchased Grimshaw's Palms Chapel Mortuary in Phoenix, AZ. His list of businesses ultimately included Bethany Chapel Funeral Home, Bloom's in South Phoenix and Mortensen King's in downtown phoenix. Grimshaw's Gold Cross Ambulance service was eventually bought by a Tucson firm. He also owned Valley of the Sun Cemetery and Crematory in Chandler, AZ. During his years in the Valley he was a member of All Saints Episcopal Church and was one of the founders of the All Saint's Episcopal Day School. He was a member of El Zaribah Shrine, Encanto Kiwanis Club, The Preferred Funeral Directors International, National Funeral Directors Association, The Kansas University Chancellors Club, member of Freemason Albert Pike Lodge #303 Kansas for 53 years, Rotary Club International, and the Phoenix Chamber of Commerce. His funeral businesses were sold to SCI Corporation. Jack is survived by his three children: Daughter Kelly Byrd Anderson (James), Laveen ,AZ. one son Jack Vann Byrd of Phoenix, AZ. and Ann Byrd Brown (Douglas) of Shelby Township, MI. He is also survived by his sister Jane Byrd Hellar (Dale) of Wichita, KS, niece Kim Cochran Ragan (Chris) and Nephew Kent Cochran (Anita). Five grandchildren survive him: Jonathan and Daniela Anderson, Laveen, AZ. Joshua Michael Byrd, Litchfield Park, AZ., Elizabeth Michelle Brown, Shelby Township, MI, Rachel Ann Brown Seabase (Anthony), Sycamore, IL. The visitation in celebration of Jack's life will be held Thursday, August 6, 2009 from 3:00 pm to 8:00pm at Valley of the Sun Mortuary and Cemetery 10940 E. Chandler Heights Rd. Chandler, AZ. Memorial Service will be held Saturday, August 8, 2009 10:00am at All Saints Episcopal Church 6300 N. Central, Phoenix, AZ. 85012. In lieu of flowers, memorial gifts in Jack's name should be sent to All Saints Church 6300 N. Central, Phoenix, AZ. 85012 and or Hospice of the Valley, Sherman House 5801 E. Mayo Blvd. Phoenix, AZ 85054. Arrangements Valley of the Sun Mortuary and Cemetery 480-895-9232
Published in The Arizona Republic on Aug. 2, 2009