August 14, 1965 - January 28, 2021
North Myrtle Beach, South Carolina - After a 40-day battle with Covid-19 pneumonia, Johnathan Wayne Byrd, age 55, received his complete healing when he joyfully met his Lord and Savior on Thursday, January 28, 2021.
John grew up in Garner, North Carolina, and attended Barton College, where he met the love of his life Kendra Jane Langston. The term 'soulmates' doesn't begin to describe their unique relationship; they were best friends, confidants, and sweethearts. They married on July 31,1994, after Kendra earned her bachelor of science in nursing (BSN) and John began pursuing the first of two master's degrees at East Carolina University. He also studied at Campbell University's School of Divinity.
For the next 20 years, John taught art, graphic design, and world religions at the college level. During that time, the couple had four beautiful children, and John fostered their love and appreciation of art as well. While his passion was abstract art, he spent much of 2020 studying under acclaimed airbrush artist Dru Blair of the Blair School of Art in South Carolina. John was very humble about his incredible God-given talents, and he shared his knowledge generously and freely with the students at his children's homeschool program as a volunteer professor.
For 10 years, John also served as a much-beloved pastor for churches in Johnston and Cumberland Counties. He was a rebel with a cause, and that cause was to preach the gospel of Jesus Christ. John did so with an authenticity and a conviction that moved people to faith and encouraged them to love God with all their hearts and to love others as themselves.
Those who knew John will remember him as a car enthusiast, a creative tattoo designer, and a brother faithful to his college fraternity Pi Kappa Phi. He was a man who put his family and their well-being before his own, and his legacy will live on through the lives of those he touched.
John is survived by his wife of 27 years Kendra Langston Byrd; daughters Lilly Carson Byrd, Ruby Sullivan Byrd, and Janie Rose Byrd and son John Oliver Byrd, all of North Myrtle Beach, SC; parents Jackie and Shearon Byrd of Garner, NC; sister Debra Byrd Adams and brother-in-law Bob Adams of Fuquay-Varina, NC; mother-in-law Donette Langston of North Myrtle Beach, SC; sister-in-law Kiecha Berzins and brother-in-law Greg Berzins of Willow Spring, NC, nephews Robert and Samuel Adams; nieces Sophia and Sydney Berzins, paternal aunt Shirley Favre and uncle Charlie Favre; the Hook House Boys; and his lifelong best friend John Cannon. John is preceded in death by his father-in-law John Carson Langston and his beloved uncle John D. Byrd.
John's family is extremely grateful to the medical staff at Grand Strand Medical Center in Myrtle Beach, South Carolina for their superior care during his 40-day illness; they, like others across the world, have served selflessly during this pandemic, and we thank them.
A celebration of John's life will take place at a later date when his loved ones can safely gather to remember his lasting impact and to share stories of their times together.
McMillan-Small Funeral Home of Myrtle Beach is assisting the family.
Published in The News & Observer on Jan. 31, 2021.