Robert John "Bob" Byrne
Amory Funeral Home
410 Grafton Drive
Yorktown, VA
Yorktown, Va. - Robert John Byrne (Bob) passed away peacefully on June 21 at the age of 88. Bob lived a long and joyous life, sharing his love for science, politics, and the beach with all who knew him. His sense of humor and compassion endeared him to his many friends, colleagues, and the numerous graduate students he mentored.

Family was all important in Bob's life – especially the love of his life, his wife Joan, with whom he ballroom danced, created stained glass works, traveled the world, and played tennis. The love that Bob and Joan shared was inspirational to all. His daughters, Heidi and Heather, were the very luckiest of kids, enjoying the yearly geology lessons at the beach, his wise counsel in times of stress, and his often-funny life stories. He loved his daughters, his son-in-law Gary, his grandchildren Jori (Melissa), Morgan (Bridget), and Katie – and was so happy to meet his great-grandson, Miles. Bob enjoyed many trips to the beach with them – surfing the waves, doing tie dye and making sand candles. He also greatly loved his sister, Janet Neiman (LeRoy), and brother, Bill Byrne (Mollie), and spent many wonderful holidays with them and their respective families. His loving family circle also included Joan's sister Judy (David), and her daughter Adar.

Bob was born in 1932 in Chicago, Illinois to Willard and Jeanette Byrne, the youngest of three siblings who were raised in Chicago. He graduated from St. Leo's High School in 1950 and went on to attend the University of Illinois before he joined the U.S. Army and served as a meteorologist. When he returned from the service, he attended the University of Chicago, where he earned his Masters and Doctorate degrees in Geophysics. While in Chicago, he worked at the U.S. Weather Bureau (an interest that he never lost, as all who knew him could tell you!). He then went on to work at the Woods Hole Oceanographic Institute in Massachusetts as a research fellow and ultimately moved to Virginia to work at the Virginia Institute of Marine Science at the College of William and Mary for many years, as a professor and an Associate Director for Research and Advisory Services. His love of the beach guided his work over the years – focusing on shoreline erosion and beach processes. This work took him all over the world and the United States as a consultant on beaches. He was a fierce advocate for the Chesapeake Bay, working with his colleagues and associates to promote its health.

The family would like to thank the staff of Warwick Forest Assisted Living, Riverside Hospice, and especially the caregivers of Riverside Home Health for all of their gentle care.

As most of you are aware, Bob had Parkinson's Disease and was an active participant in the Williamsburg Parkinson's Support Group. In lieu of flowers, donations may be made to the Parkinson's Foundation or the American Parkinson's Disease Association.

Bob would want all of his friends, colleagues, and neighbors to know that he loved you very much and was privileged to be a part of your lives. We hope you will be able to join us for the celebration of life which will occur at the Freight Shed in Yorktown at 2 pm on Monday, June 28. Arrangements by Amory Funeral Home, Grafton, Va.
To plant trees in memory, please visit our Sympathy Store.
Published by Daily Press from Jun. 23 to Jun. 27, 2021.
Celebration of Life
the Freight Shed
, Yorktown, VA
Funeral services provided by:
Amory Funeral Home
Sponsored by Amory Funeral Home.
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17 Entries
I wish to offer the family and Joan my deepest sympathies in the passing of Bob. I treasure the memories of Bob and Joan while we shared our love of ballroom dancing. Bob was a very special soul and great fun to be around. Joan, you are in my thoughts and prayers.
William Dunbar
July 13, 2021
In memory of a GREAT man!!!!
Charlie and Donna Natale
July 12, 2021
Curt and Suzette
June 29, 2021
Remembering Bob, his wonderful and gentle soul will live in our hearts. May he rest in peace
Mohamed and Kathleen Elgougary
June 28, 2021
Joan - I was so sorry to hear about Bob. His Amory obituary is right next to Dad´s, Paul Koehly. I was amazed to see they both went on the same day. That is true friendship! I know Dad thought a lot of Bob and enjoyed working with him at VIMS. It was good to see their friendship carried on into their retirement years. I did not have a way to reach you directly to let you know about Dad. We buried him at Grace Church on May 25, 2021. Amanda
June 28, 2021
Dear Joan and Family, May your treasured memories comfort you. With sincere sympathy, Carolyn Gaertner
Carolyn Gaertner
June 27, 2021
The Schriver Siblings
June 27, 2021
Heidi/Heather/Joan: I am so heartbroken to hear of Bob´s death. In the summers when I was in 10th and 12th grade Bob employed me at VIMS as a summer intern. He was a kind and gentle person and a great mentor. Those summer experiences eventually lead me to major in geology at university. His influence will always be with me and for that I am always grateful. I offer your family and all those who knew Bob my deepest sympathies.
Keith Stewart
June 27, 2021
Dear Joan, my deepest sympathy and prayers are with you and your family. I remember well when you and Bob joined the Williamsburg Parkinson Support Group. You two were a great team and did much for the group over the years. My thoughts are with you as your journey continues. Ann
Ann Marie Bill
June 27, 2021
I first met Bob when I came to VIMS in 1970 as a graduate student. He graciously agreed to serve on my graduate committee and was a wonderful mentor and then friend. At that early time the environmental consciousness of the nation and world was awakening more fully and Bob was at the forefront of science based environment management and a leader in that movement. He has been an inspiration to me and so many others and both his professional and personal legacies are living on, both now and will be well into the future. A life well lived! Thank you Bob!
Ken Moore
June 27, 2021
So sorry to hear about your loss. You know that God and Jesus are in the best position to comfort us when we lose a loved one in death.
June 25, 2021
Albert and Jean Kuo
June 25, 2021
I first met Bob in 1971 and he became my supervisor at VIMS in 1982. He was a dear friend and a trusted and inspiring administrator. He will be sorely missed by the many whose lives he touched. But his legacy of guiding, caring and loving will live on.
Don Wright
June 23, 2021
Don and Jeanne Wright
June 23, 2021
Rip my dear friend.
Marvenna Maxwell
June 23, 2021
To the Family of Dr. Robert J. Byrne:

My heart is heavy to hear that Dr. Byrne passed away on June 21, 2021. He and I worked at VIMS and he was truly a sweetheart and loved by all. He was a very kind and caring person, and just an awesome person. He was greatly missed when he retired from VIMS and although some of us didn't see him after retirement, he was still in our hearts. We were blessed to have known Bob Byrne. You could always learn a lot from him.

It is my prayer that during this difficult time, the memories may help to ease your pain. Trust in the Lord to see you through.

With deepest and heartfelt sympathy,
Jacqueline Blake
June 23, 2021
Joan, we are sorry to learn of Bob’s passing . He was a true Renaissance man of so many talents who made the world a better place for us all. Thank you for sharing him with us !
Sheila and Jim Majka
June 23, 2021
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