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Barbara Garwood Byrd

1923 - 2018 Obituary Condolences
Barbara Garwood Byrd

Barbara Garwood (later Byrd) was born March 9, 1923 in Hebo, Tillamook County, on the north coast of Oregon. Her father, Roy Garwood, was the U.S. Forest Service District Ranger for the Siuslaw/Tillamook National Forest. Her mother, Helen Mae Garwood, was the great granddaughter of J.B. Stephens, a pioneer resident of Portland, arriving in 1844 (before Oregon was even part of the United States). Barbara graduated from high school in Roseburg, Oregon and then attended the University of Oregon (Eugene) where she studied art and pledged the Pi Beta Phi.
She left the university in the middle of World War II to participate in the war effort. She went to work for Boeing in Seattle as a technical draftsman (drawing plans for the war planes). There she met her husband, Eugene L. Byrd Jr., a just graduated aeronautical engineer from Mississippi (married August 26, 1944 —the day of the Liberation of Paris). After a short stint in the Army, her husband went to work for North American Aviation near Los Angeles International Airport. They settled in the Redondo Beach area for over 50 years. Stephen was born in short order in October 1947 and Ron in December 1950.
Barbara (Bobbe) Byrd was a prolific artist from 1941 to 1999, first painting in oils and later gravitating to bronze cast sculpture (and other mediums). She left behind a body of work which some are convinced will someday be famous. In the 1970s and 1980s she studied oil painting under the famous Russian artist, Sergei Bongart, commuting weekly to Santa Monica. She acquired of his technique (not quite impressionism, not quite realism) and vivid sense of color. In the 1980s and 1990s she participated in the Palos Verdes Cooperative of one hundred artists. They rented a shopping center storefront as a gallery, and she became the top revenue producing artist of all one hundred artists. In this period, her work was exhibited in a yearlong glasnost international exchange on the Kamchatka Peninsula, Vladivostok region, of Russia. Her sculpture work became a favorite of Japanese tourists to Los Angeles.
Bobbe and Gene retired to North County of San Diego. Gene suddenly passed away in May 2000. But she continued a very active social life for many years thereafter, particularly in ballroom dancing. Her constant dinner companion for several years, Justin Radin, died in December 2010 at the age of 91. Just prior to this, she had been diagnosed with Alzheimer's. Her sons, Steve and Ron, rotated 14 days a month for 5 years staying with her so she could age in place. By late 2014, she had reached the advanced stages of Alzheimer's, and she went to live with a Persian/Iranian family in Rancho Bernardo who could provide the individualized care she needed 24/7. Through their unceasing love, doting care and attention, they instilled in her a remarkable will to live, despite cognitive decline. She long surpassed the age span of anyone in the history of our family at 94 (just 27 days short of her 95th birthday!).
Barbara Byrd passed from this world Saturday evening, February 10, 2018 (6:30pm). She is survived by her sons, numerous nieces, nephews, cousins and devoted caregiver. She truly was one of the last of her generation. Cremation arrangements were at Bayview in San Diego, at her specific wish. It is planned to scatter her ashes off Santa Catalina Island and Hebo, on the coast of Oregon, this July. Please sign the guest book at www.dailybreeze.com/obits.
Published in Daily Breeze on Apr. 6, 2018
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