In Memory Of
Byrd, Mirium Jane Pomeroy who passed away on 5/22/2019 at the age of 100
Miriam Jane Byrd died peacefully on May 22, 2019, at home in Houston, Texas, surrounded by her children. She retained her sharp mental acuity and wit until the end. Miriam is survived by her brother Richard Pomeroy (Liz) of Traverse City, Michigan, her daughters Elizabeth Arend (Lewis) of Houston, Texas, and Susan Harvey of Okemos, Michigan, and her sons William (Heather) of Novato, California, and James (Kathryn) of Washington, DC. She is also survived by eight grandchildren, eight great-grandchildren, and numerous nieces and nephews.
Miriam was born on December 7, 1918, in Sterling, Michigan, the first child of the late Clark Morrison Pomeroy and Bessie May Ames. After graduating from high school as the valedictorian of her class, Miriam attended nursing school at the University of Michigan, graduating in 1940.
In 1942, she married Karl Mysen, a U.S. Navy test pilot who perished in a plane crash while ferrying military airplanes from Ohio to the West Coast in 1943. While serving as a U.S. Navy nurse at Jacksonville Naval Air Station during World War II, she met and married Edwin L. "Red" Byrd of Houston, Texas, a U.S. Navy PBY pilot who had fought in the Atlantic and South Pacific. Their first child (Elizabeth) was born in Florida, and after leaving the U.S. Navy, Miriam and Red moved to Houston where their second child (William) was born. Miriam returned to Michigan in 1950 with her young family where she and Red purchased and began operating a dairy farm on the Maple River near Elsie, even though neither had ever lived or worked on a farm before. Miriam continued her nursing career while also helping to work the family farm, where the youngest of her children (Susan and James) were born.
In 1961, when her husband developed rheumatoid arthritis, and could no longer farm, Miriam and her family moved to the Lansing, Michigan area where Red managed a family-owned radio station. She raised her four children in Okemos, Michigan and was an active volunteer at St. Katherine's Episcopal Church, and for the Visiting Nurses and the Lansing Symphony Orchestra. Miriam continued to apply her nursing skills to assist her husband who had numerous surgeries and suffered other side effects from his illness. Miriam and Red retired to Florida and ultimately returned to Houston when Red's health declined. He died in 1998, after more than 50 years of marriage. Miriam then lived independently at her Houston home, only moving in with her daughter, Elizabeth, and son-in-law, Lew, for her last two years.
Miriam had a life-long interest in history and family genealogy, documenting more than 3,000 ancestors back to the Mayflower and beyond, often bringing to life ancestors with short biographies. An enthusiastic traveler, she visited Great Britain more than a dozen times between 1963 and 2014, as well as numerous trips in North America and to Europe, North Africa, and the Near East, both with her husband and more recently her children. Always intellectually curious, she was an avid reader of historical fiction and non-fiction. Despite the gradual loss of her eyesight in her last few years, she found a way to continue her passion for reading and learning by listening to audio books. She also loved her time with family on the porch at her cottage on Clifford Lake in Michigan where she displayed her talents for Scrabble and bridge and bringing people together. She passed on her passions for history, travel, and gathering with family to multiple generations.
Miriam was a woman who encountered many challenges and difficulties in life, but who moved forward and overcame any obstacle in her path. She often said, "Stay flexible and you won't get bent out of shape". She lived by that credo throughout her life. Miriam was loved by many; all whose lives she touched were deeply enriched. Miriam will be remembered by her family for her generosity, intellect, constant support, and keen memory. She was her family's North Star.
A memorial service will be held at 2:00 P.M. on August 24, 2019, at St. Francis Episcopal Church at 345 Piney Point Road in Houston, Texas where she worshipped and was a member. Donations in lieu of flowers can be made to the Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation and the American Macular Degeneration Foundation.