A devoted Christian and family man, Don Byrd passed away peacefully at his residence in Central on July 9, 2018 at the age of 82. He was born at home in Franklin County, Mississippi on March 3, 1936, the last of six children born to Bertha V. (Chapman) and Thomas Cage Byrd. He moved to Baton Rouge in 1942 at age 6 and in 1954 graduated from Baton Rouge High School where he met Jessalyn O’Neal, the love of his life. He was in the Air Force and she was a senior in high school when they married on May 4, 1955. They spent more than 63 years together, almost always side by side. Don served four years active duty in the United States Air Force and four years in the Air Force reserves. Upon his return to Baton Rouge after his military service, he worked at Thomas Scrap and later at the Shell Chemical plant in Geismar. He retired from Shell in 1998 with 22 years service. Don accepted Jesus Christ as his savior at the age of 12 and faithfully served Him throughout his life. Over the years, Don served as a Deacon at several Baptist churches in the Baton Rouge area, and was a member of Zoar Baptist Church at the time of his passing. He was a quiet, humble, hardworking man, who loved the Lord and his family. He loved gardening, fishing, playing cards and dominoes, and spending time with his family, especially the grandchildren. His patience seemed almost without end, even during his illness and while homebound. Don is survived by his wife Jessalyn O’Neal Byrd and their three children, son David Byrd and wife Cindy of Lawton, Oklahoma; daughter Bonnie Byrd Clegg of Beggs, Oklahoma; and daughter Donis Byrd Raborn and husband Steve of Central; their nine grandchildren, Sarah Byrd, Tiffany Royal, Nicole Hall, Courtney Aguilar, Rebecca Clegg Romoser, Franklin Clegg, Peyton Clegg, Ethan Raborn, and Matthew Raborn; and their six great-grandchildren, Christopher Royal, Hunter Royal, Colson Hall, Blakely Hall, Ally Santiago, and Marli Aguilar. Don is also survived by a sister, Mary Jo Byrd Hardy. He is preceded in death by his parents, and four siblings, Mazie Pauline Byrd, James Curtis Byrd, Thomas Carroll Byrd, and Emma Jean Byrd Boyett. Visitation will be held at Zoar Baptist Church, 11848 Hooper Road, on Thursday, July 12 from 9:00 am until services at 11:00 am, conducted by Dr. Tommy Middleton. Burial will follow at Resthaven Gardens of Memory. In lieu of flowers, the family requests memorial donations to Texas Children’s Hospital, Office of Philanthropy, Suite 5214, PO Box 300630, Houston TX 77230 or online at http://waystogive.texaschildrens.org. The family extends its gratitude to Hospice of Baton Rouge and caregivers Beverly Galloway and Rose Douglas, who provided faithful and loving care during Don’s illness.


Share This
Call Now Button