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Francis "Frank" Byrne

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Francis "Frank" Byrne Obituary
Byrne, Francis "Frank" J.
Loving husband, father and grandfather; loyal friend, decorated fighter pilot, corporate pilot, backyard mechanic, and golf enthusiast, Francis J. Byrne, Lt. Col. (ret.) USAF flew free to "touch the hand of God" on January 16, 2014. Frank, 83, was born in Bakersfield, California on September 1, 1930. One of five children born to John and Agnes Byrne, he is survived by his brother Tom. In 1953 Frank enlisted in the Air Force and qualified for pilot training as a cadet in the Tiger Program. Commended early for his "can do" spirit, flying skills and "top gun" proficiency bombing, he continued to lead a distinguished career as an F-100 fighter pilot and F-100 instructor pilot. He was a test pilot of the F-104, reaching speeds of Mach II. Frank stood Victor Alert in England during the Cold War. He volunteered and flew more than 100 missions over Hanoi during the Viet Nam conflict and was decorated with the "Distinguished Flying Cross" and many other honors. Upon retiring from the Air Force in May of 1973, Frank flew for the Forestry Service and corporations and continued to fly for a fixed-base operation at the Carefree Airport until 1990. Dearest Frank, your easy, cheerful camaraderie and the twinkle in your eyes will be deeply missed. The lives of your wife of 55 years, Nancy "Nan", daughter Jenna, granddaughter Aavyn, extended family and so many friends are forever enriched and blessed that your life touched theirs. A memorial service with military honors will be held on Saturday, January 25th at 1:00 PM at Shadow Mountain Mortuary, 2350 E. Greenway Rd., Phoenix. In lieu of flowers, donations in Frank's memory can be made to: Banner Alzheimer's Institute, 901 E. Willetta St., Phoenix AZ, 85006, or , 1510 E. Flower St., Phoenix, AZ 85014. Please go to to share condolences with the family.



Published in The Arizona Republic from Jan. 22 to Jan. 24, 2014
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