Kevin Jerome Byrne

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Kevin Jerome Byrne Obituary
Kevin Jerome Byrne August 4, 1950 - August 10, 2012 Resident of Orland, Maine Kevin Byrne, 62, a resident of Orland, Maine passed away peacefully, Friday, August 10, 2012 at Eastern Maine Medical Center in Bangor, Maine surrounded by his loving friends, Bob and Maryann Ullo. Kevin was born in Oakland to Tom and Mary (Loughery) Byrne. He had lived for many years in Maine where he was a well-respected and much loved professional, neighbor and friend. He was preceded in death by his parents and beloved brother Jim Byrne (2010). He is survived by his brother Tom Byrne and sister-in-law Judy of Modesto; and brother Robert (Denis) Byrne of Portland, Oregon and "adopted brother" Rick Smith of Fairbanks, Alaska; cherished niece and nephews, loved cousins and his dearest friends Robert, Maryann and Maria Ullo of Orland, Maine and many other close friends in Maine and beyond. Kevin lived a very full life. He was a graduate of St. Leander's School and San Leandro High School (1968). As a teen he was a member of the Bay-O-Vista swim team. Kevin was also a member of the San Leandro Beavers Swim Club and a Varsity swimmer at San Leandro High School. His specialty was long distance swimming and he once surprised his friends by "going for a dip" out by Fort Point in San Francisco. He also swam in the sea by Jordan and came up from the water close to the shore and noting a heavily fortified shoreline he made a quick U-turn and headed back to where he came from - (this was in the summer of 1968 when he traveled to Europe and the Middle East with a group of students). Kevin worked at Southern Pacific Railroad from February 1974 to April 1976 as a freight clerk. He left that position to join our brothers Jim and Rick who were working on the Alaskan Pipeline out of Fairbanks. Kevin attended Cal State-Hayward (East Bay) and also the University of California, Berkeley, eventually graduating with academic honors from the University of Maine. Kevin was accepted to the Law School of the University of Iowa. However, he decided after one week of school there that he would rather work helping people more directly so he pursued a graduate degree and career in Social Work and received his MSW from the University of Maine. He enjoyed his time here on this earth, whether spending it with friends or family or lovingly tending his plants. Kevin had a marvelous intellect and truly loved classical music, art, and architecture. He was also an avid reader of history and literature. From the quite young age of seven, Kevin could do incredibly detailed sketches of buildings. Later in his life he was to translate this ability into designing and building houses. By doing so Kevin carried forward his maternal grandfather's and uncle's tradition of home building. His pride and joy was to design and guide the construction of his newest home in the Maine woods that was completed just four years ago. A skilled writer and historian, Kevin also made it a priority to read often. Among his favorite authors were Proust, Hesse, and Nabokov. Kevin was a devoted son and brother. Despite living in Maine, he somehow was able to take time out of his own life to spend months at a time in California, where he could be nearer to his Mom and Dad to be there for them when they needed help the most. He had an inquisitive penchant for learning and sharing the history and beauty of so many beautiful places in Europe and Northern California as well as many of the special spots he "discovered" in his adopted state of Maine. Among other places in Europe, he spent a year in Salzburg, Austria as an exchange student from the University of Maine and while there learned to speak German fluently. In the fall of 2010 Kevin traveled to Anchorage to help his brother Jim with numerous medical challenges. Despite his own tenuous health, he was there for Jim in every way. Kevin used his considerable professional expertise to enable Jim to obtain whatever medical care would best be of help to him. When Jim lost his battle with ALS and Parkinson's disease it was a big blow to Kevin but he kept right on dealing with the serious challenges of his own health. This, while at the same time generously being there for his family and friends. Prior to his health related retirement, Kevin's professional life as a geriatric social worker positively impacted the many individuals and families he served. He loved plants, music, reading and lively conversations. He was warm, generous and kind. His keen, curious mind and a wonderful sense of humor will be missed by all. Kevin had a genuine gift of encouraging everyone that he came into contact with to learn from their lives and to grow. His brothers believe that his spirit has been transformed and that he is in the company of their brother Jim, and Mom and Dad. He worked hard at overcoming his health challenges . . . may he now rest in peace. A memorial Mass and celebration of Kevin's life will occur next month for friends and family in Maine. A local memorial Mass will be scheduled at St. Leander's Church in the near future. More information is available from his brother Tom at
Published in Inside Bay Area on Oct. 14, 2012
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