“Richardson” - SULLIVANS ISLAND - Katie Adele Richardson Byrd, of Sullivan’s Island, SC, widow of Dr. James Cozby Byrd, Jr., passed away peacefully in her sleep on Friday, October 30, 2015. She was 88 years old.
Funeral services will be held at Grace Episcopal Church, in Charleston, SC, officiated by The Reverend Canon J. Michael A. Wright, on Saturday, November 7, 2015, at one o’clock. Internment will follow in the church columbarium. Arrangements by J. HENRY STUHR, INC., Mount Pleasant CHAPEL.
Mrs. Byrd was born May 12, 1 9 2 7 , in the Brittons Neck Community of Marion County, SC, daughter of the late Walter and Mary Richardson. Mrs. Byrd was only six years old when her mother died unexpectedly . However, this tragic loss was softened by the loving care of her father, four older siblings, and five half siblings, many of whom assisted closely in her rearing.
Mrs. Byrd had a lifelong interest in education. She earned her Associates Degree in Education from Anderson Junior College (now Anderson University), and began her career as an educator at the age of nineteen, teaching in the Columbia, SC public schools.
She also continued her education at the University of South Carolina, from which she received her B.A. and Masters Degree in Education, specializing in Early Childhood Education and Child Growth and Development.
During this time, she also served as an assistant to J. P. Strom, and developed her lifelong interest in
South Carolina history. Mrs. Byrd spent a year teaching in the Panama Canal Zone, and had planned to continue her graduate studies in Germany, but chose instead to accept the marriage proposal of her beloved, lifelong husband, James C. Byrd, Jr., whom she wed in 1954.
In the ensuing years, until her retirement, she taught continuously in many of the public school systems of South Carolina.
Upon her return to the South Carolina low country, Mrs. Byrd taught hundreds of children in the
Charleston area, first at the Mount Pleasant Academy, and then at Saint Andrews Elementary School. Mrs. Byrd had a special talent for knowing each of her young pupils as an individual, and encouraging each child to both enjoy their educational pursuits and strive to achieve their best. Her devotion to her schoolchildren earned her the love of both her pupils and their parents, and the respect of her colleagues, to whom she also served as a mentor.
Mrs. Byrd’s interest in education was not limited to the classroom, however.
An outstanding athlete in her youth, she always emphasized the i m p o r t a n c e o f e x e r c i s e a n d outdoor play. Indeed, Mrs. Byrd had excelled at basketball while in college, and would occasionally impress her sons by performing a perfect layup.
While Mrs. Byrd was deeply devoted to her professional calling as an educator, her greatest love was for her family and church. She was a selfless and devoted wife and mother, and continued to hold her extended family dear. She was a former member of Christ Episcopal Church in Greenville, Episcopal Church in Greenville, SC, and a member of Grace Episcopal Church following her return to her native low country.
Mrs. Byrd was predeceased by her husband, her four older brothers, and five half siblings.
She is survived by her two sons, Dr. James Cozby Byrd III and his wife, Terrill Marsh Byrd, of Gainesville, FL, and William Ashley Byrd and his wife, Dr. Margaret Erwin Byrd, of Charleston, SC; her three grandchildren, Elizabeth Ashley Byrd, Malcolm Benjamin Byrd, and Michael William Byrd, as well as numerous nieces and nephews.
In lieu of flowers, memorials may be made to Alzheimer’s Association SC Chapter Lowcountry Region, 2090 Executive Hall Road, Suite 130, Charleston, SC 29407.
A memorial message may be sent to the family by visiting our website at www.jhenrystuhr.com