Joseph Christopher "Chris" Byrne
1947 - 2020
Joseph Christopher "Chris" Byrne

Joseph Christopher "Chris" Byrne, lost his long battle with Alzheimer's on November 9, 2020. Born on November 11, 1947, to Dr. Joseph T. and (Cissy) Byrne, he was predeceased by them and his sister, Mary Byrne Gates. He is survived by his wife of 39 years, Jackie, with whom he shared a long and loving marriage; siblings, Russell (Ellen), John (Manuela), Elizabeth, Bryan (Ann), Kerry and Anne (Dan) Talley; many nieces and nephews and other relatives; his best friend, Charles Riley, and his high school sweetheart, Marsha Lee. He attended St. Bridget's School and Thomas Jefferson High School, where he wrestled and lettered in track. Chris graduated from St. Leo College (Fla.) with a degree in Journalism/Education. He was passionate about helping the underprivileged and the impoverished, fighting for racial and social equality. With Caesar Chavez, he unionized migrant workers in the U.S. for decent wages and working and living conditions. Chris joined Native Americans in 1973 at Wounded Knee, S.D., protesting the U.S. government's treaty breaking. A photo journalist/activist, his observations and opinions were widely published. He retired from the Rappahannock Juvenile Detention Center, where he taught English. Chris collected art, literature and antiques. He was a self-taught musician, composer, performer and photographer. He was selfless, always willing to help others in need or distress. He was quick witted, funny, a prankster young at heart, who will be missed by all who knew him. Chris left this world a better place. Peace. A celebration of Chris' life will be held at a later date. A complete obit can be found at
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Published by The Free Lance - Star on Nov. 22, 2020.
No memorial events are currently scheduled.
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Funeral services provided by:
Bliley's Funeral Homes Central Chapel
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5 Entries
I always enjoyed talking with Chris and listening to his interesting stories! He will be missed! You are in my thoughts Jackie.
Bart Goldberg
November 25, 2020
Dear Jackie, sorry to hear of your loss. Chris was a wonderful thoughtful person. I enjoyed working with him. I know you will miss him. I pray God's blessing upon you and your family.
Cheryl G. Watkins
November 25, 2020
Mr. Byrne was my favorite substitute teacher. He was patient and kind. I truly looked up to him as a mentor. Sometimes he´d admit he wasn´t sure the specifics of what he was going to teach us, but he showed no fear when he dug into the subject. He genuinely made classes more fun and would remind me its okay to have fun while learning. Rest In Peace Mr Byrne. Thank you for your understanding and helping me gain confidence in myself.
Heather (Wade) Clark
November 24, 2020
My thoughts and prayers are with the entire Byrnes family.
AJ Sanborn
November 22, 2020
We will all miss Chris's warm personality and conviction to help others. He spoke often about his students and he had a profound effect on many of them. He knew how to listen to them and found creative ways to change negative behavior. He would visit my shop often and the conversations were wonderful. He had a strong dramatic and artistic nature. Dear Jackie, I am so sorry for your loss. You were a dedicated wife and such strong support during his final illness. It was easy to see the love you shared in each other's eyes. Chris will live on in the hearts of so many that he touched. I will miss him very much. Arch
Archer Di Peppe
November 22, 2020