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William W. O'Byrne
August 24, 1932 ~ December 15, 2023 (age 91) 91 Years Old
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NAPA - With heavy hearts, we announce the passing of William W. (Bill) O'Byrne on December 15, 2023. He was 91 years old.
Bill was born on August 24, 1932, in Shawnee, OK to Rob Ben and Pat O'Byrne. Just after the U.S. entered World War II, when he was nine years old, his father lost his typewriter and office equipment business to the war effort, and the family relocated, first to Baldwin City, KS, to live with his grandparents, and then to Kansas City, MO. Both parents worked in the war effort, his father as a carpenter in the Pratt-Whitney Engine Plant and his mother at the North American Aviation Building B-25's. Bill completed school in Kansas City, graduating from Southeast High School in 1949. He continued on to Baker University, where many of his relatives had preceded him. He pledged Delta Tau Delta fraternity. Needing a date for a fraternity function, he got up the nerve to ask Jeanne Mueller to go with him and was surprised when she accepted. That was the start of a relationship that led to their marriage a week before they graduated in May of 1953.
Bill knew before graduation that he was going into the Navy. He and Jeanne went first to Newport, RI, for Officer Candidate School, and then to San Diego for additional training. After that, they went to Mare Island, and Bill spent the next two years as a gunnery and deck officer, on a refrigerated cargo ship, the USS Graffias (AF29). About 18 months of these years were spent in Japan, Formosa, and the Philippines. His last year in the Navy was as an instructor at the Fleet Gunnery School in San Diego. Service was an enduring theme in Bill's life. Just last March, he participated in the Honor Flight, in which he flew to Washington DC to visit the memorials dedicated to honor the service and sacrifices of former military personnel. Bill was discharged from the Navy in February 1957, and entered the Graduate School of Business at the University of California, Berkeley.
He was hired by Pacific Telephone & Telegraph that same year and spent the next 28 years in Operator Services and Service Measurement functions. Bill and Jeanne lived in Oakland, Hayward, Sacramento, and finally Napa, where he was transferred in 1968. He retired in 1987, and spent the next two years or so as the Regional Vice President of the CA-NV Telephone Pioneers of America. He said it was the best job of all - traveling all over the country with Jeanne and serving a wonderful organization.
If you asked Bill about his proudest legacy, though, he would tell you of his 61-year marriage to Jeanne and their loving family of four children: Susan, Nancy, Peter, and Matthew. Jeanne passed away in January 2014.
Bill was active in United Way, Sons in Retirement, and the Kiwanis Club of Napa. In October, his Kiwanis Club selected him to receive the distinguished William A. Dunlap award for exemplary service to Kiwanis Club of Napa. Recipients are a distinguished group of individuals who support the Cal-Nev-Ha Children's Fund. Bill's award was one of only eleven awards by his club since its inception. In addition to his participation with various service clubs, he also loved playing golf, cards, traveling, and spending time with his grandchildren, and great-grandchildren.
Bill was preceded in death by his son Peter and by his brothers, Robert and Michael; as well as his partner, Mona Humpert; who passed away on October 26, 2023. Bill is survived by his daughters: Susan Hunt and Nancy O'Byrne; son Matthew; and daughter-in-law, Susan; his sister, Patricia Sikorovsky; sister-in-law, Mary Joanna O'Byrne; sister-in-law, Jane Mueller; grandchildren: Jason (Kristine Perez), Brian, and Tyler (Ivy Chen) Hunt, Eileen Hudson-O'Byrne, Zachary, and Maria O'Byrne (Leah Reis-Dennis); great-grandchildren: Jeffry Hunt and, Madison Hunt, along many nieces and nephews.
His family would like to thank the Watermark of Napa for the excellent and compassionate care he received while living there.
A Celebration of Life with Military Honors by the Navy Honor Guard will take place on January 19, 2024, at 1:00 p.m. at the Napa Elks Lodge.