James Edward "Jim" Byrd went to be with the Lord Nov. 23, 2010, due to complications following heart surgery. Jim was a kind and generous man who was a friend to everyone he met. He was always quick to share a friendly smile and laugh that comforted many and was endearing to all. Born in Russell, Arkansas, he was raised in Little Rock graduating from Little Rock Central High School. His love for his Heavenly Father was shown early as he surrendered to the ministry while attending college at Ouachita Baptist University in Arkadelphia, Ark., where lettering in baseball as a catcher for four years. He was president of his senior class and served in ROTC four years. Jim graduated in 1959 receiving the Distinguished Military Student Award and his Regular Army Commission as a Second Lieutenant in the United States Army. He later earned his masters in psychology and his Ph.D. from Southwestern Seminary in Fort Worth, Texas. Jim served as professor at Louisiana College, Letourneau University, Dallas Christian College, and as a Pastor or in various other church staff positions in Arkansas, Germany, Oklahoma and Texas. His last employment was as vice-president of the Texas Baptist Missions Foundation where he traveled throughout Texas raising money for missions, ministering to churches and speaking on the needs of winning others to Christ. Jim also previously served as the founding Executive Director of the Kid Links Foundation, an organization of energy executives that raises money for children's charities. He was a member of the Dallas Petroleum Club and various civic organizations. His love for his country was shown in his 23 years of service in the United States Army, National Guard, and the U.S. Army Reserve. Jim loved his country and the men and women fighting to keep it safe. Jim also served his country for eleven years as an appointee of Congressman Pete Sessions to the Armed Forces Military Academy Selection Committee. He recently gave his two coveted Texas Ranger playoff tickets to a young First Lieutenant leaving for Afghanistan saying, "He is risking his life for our country…how can I not give these tickets to him?" His parents, Cyretha Odeen and Joseph Franklin Byrd, brother John Byrd, sister Marie, and his infant daughter Kimberly, whom he never got to hold due to his serving in Germany at the time of her birth and death, preceded Jim in death. He leaves behind his beloved family, including his loving wife of 51 years Wencie; sons Scott, Lance and Bart; brother, Bill; sisters, Alice and Lela Mae; grandchildren, Daniel, Lauren, Blakley, Ryland, and Margaret, and numerous other family members. Viewing will be Sunday, Nov. 28, 2010, at Sparkman Hillcrest Funeral Home in Dallas from 3 p.m.-5 p.m. Funeral services will be at 11 a.m. on Monday, Nov. 29, 2010, at Park Cities Baptist Church in Dallas. An additional service will be held at 2 p.m. on Tuesday, Nov. 30, 2010, at Roller-McNutt Funeral Home in Clinton, Ark. Burial will be at Pee Dee Cemetery in Clinton, AR. In lieu of flowers, donations may be made to the Texas Baptist Missions Foundation (214-828-5343) or the American Heart Association.
Published November 28, 2010