2011-09-22 / Obituaries


Richard Francis Byrnes (Ritchie/Dick Byrnes) died of natural causes on June 13, 2011, at the New York Westchester Square Hospital. He was born in New York City on July 19, 1923, the son of Harry and Margaret (Farrell) Byrnes. Richard grew up in Harlem and resided most of his adult life in the Bronx, and with his family in Lake Mahopac and the surrounding area.

He is predeceased by his wife of 61 years, Jeanne (Orchard) Byrnes; his daughter, Barbara H. Byrnes (NYC); his son, Dr. Christopher I. Byrnes (St. Louis); his parents, and siblings: Charles, Harry, William, Edward, Robert, Helen, Margaret, and James. He is survived by his daughter Miriam (Bruce) Rockcastle of Troy, NY; son, Dr. Edward Byrnes of Spokane, WA; and brother Eugene (Joan) Byrnes of Carmel, NY; grandchildren: Laura and Ian Putnick; Kathleen Byrnes Choi (Justin), Allison and Christopher Byrnes, Max and James Byrnes; and one great grandchild, Emmaline Putnick; as well as dozens of cousins, nieces and nephews, etc.

Richard served his country in WWII in the 87th Infantry Division, European Theatre, and was honorably discharged at the rank of Corporal. He received several military decorations, including the Bronze Star for bravery. Upon his return home, he became a NYC bus driver and even drove trolley cars in his earlier days. He later went from doing the driving to a driving instructor and then joined the Safety Division of M.A.B.S.T.O.A. before retiring. During his years with the bus company, he served with the Emerald and Holy Name Societies. He also was a baseball coach for the P.A.L. for several years. Richard was also awarded several distinguished service and volunteer (of the year) awards by several organizations such as the American Cancer Society and the Ostomy Society for his outstanding level of commitment to those organizations and for helping those in need in Westchester County and surrounding areas.

In his younger years, he was a talented athlete in many areas, but excelled at baseball. He was an outstanding pitcher and had one heck of a throwing arm for distance. He had to turn down a shot at playing for the Yankees in the late 50s to take care of his family and beloved wife, who had contracted polio. He also enjoyed playing tennis, bowling, golfing and fishing. In his later years when playing was no longer an option, he was an avid Yankee fan, never missing a game. Anyone who knew Richard also knew he had a great sense of humor; he had a talent for walking into a room and shortly thereafter, you were guaranteed to hear lots of laughter coming from the growing crowd gathering around him to listen to his hilarious jokes and stories.

Private Memorial Services were held at St. Raymond’s Cemetery in the Bronx, where Richard’s ashes were interred in the niche he now shares with his beloved wife, Jeanne.

In lieu of flowers, the family asks if you wish to make a contribution, may we suggest Cornell University-Barbara Byrnes Memorial Scholarship, Alumni Systems and Gift Services, 55 Brown Road, Ithaca, NY 14850.

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