Today Sept 14, 2020 we say “Good luck” and “Take Care” Daddy on your new adventure once again to be with Mom after 10 years of fighting a good fight with Parkinsons and Dementia. He celebrated 90 yrs and 10 months on this earth and now is with Jesus and family that journeyed before him to Heaven. Elmer Byrd, beloved husband of the late Jessie Byrd, much cherished and loved Father to Dominique Debra Wollenberg and Kenneth Ray Byrd, Grandfather, Great-grandfather, Great- Great grandfather and friend to many people; has left us for one more tour on the morning of September 14,2020.
On the morning of November 2, 1929, in the mountains of North Carolina, Yancy county, a blue eyed blond hair baby boy arrived, bringing joy to George and Ida Byrd. Elmer was raised on a farm and loved climbing trees, feeding the farm animals, hunting, playing marbles, fishing (in which the biggest thing he ever caught as an adult was himself), and playing basketball where he would later be offered a place on a college team and continued education if he would relocate. His parents did not want him to leave because he was only 16 at the time.
Elmer was almost 18 when he decided he wanted to join the Navy in 1947. This is where he developed his love of playing cards. He was stationed on the USS Ault DD - 698. This was a Sumner-class destroyer. For the next 6 years he was in Cuba, Italy, Greece, Crete, Criesle, France, Hati, Cypres, Venice, Sicily, Panama and Lisbon. He received many awards, one of which the China Service Medal. He was a Sonar Specialist.
While on leave he met the one and only love of his life, Jessie Gouge, a nurse at the local hospital. They met through his best friend Paul and his wife on a blind date at the movies and that was it for both of them. He later left the Navy in 1953, due to being out to sea so much and away from Jessie. He then continued to serve in the military, but this time in the Air Force as an Air Traffic Controller for a total of 24 years. In 1953 Elmer and Jessie were married and started a family shortly afterwards.
Elmer served two tours in Vietnam. He also served in Germany, Korea, Japan and several other countries. During his tour in the Air Force he had become and avid Bowler and was in many leagues of which one was the Air Force Bowling Association. He carried over a 200 average. The bowling alley was our second home.
Between 1955 and 1963 he also was stationed at Eglin AFB FL, Selfridge AFB Michigan and Glasgow Montana. 1967 he was staioned in Japan for 3 years. In Feb 1971 he Retired from the Military at Eglin AFB. Niceville was called home for the next 39 years. During this time, he was an over the road truck driver for 27 years, until a heartattack changed his path in 1998. He then became a stay at home husband.
When his wife continued on her final journey in 2010 he moved in with his daughter and her family, to live the next 10 years in Mossey Head, Fl. That was truly a blessing for them. He continued doing what he liked best, watching over his family.
Elmer enjoyed numerous trips to Biloxi, MS, until the Dementia and Parkinsons made it impossible to do so. He played in over 50 Black Jack tournaments and over 400 Poker tournaments. He placed well in many tournaments over the years in Biloxi, as well as in Pensacola and Ebro.
His daughter traveled with him for 4 years to Biloxi (2014 to Dec 2018) due to his illness getting worse . In 2016, for his upcoming birthday, she took him on a cruise to the Bahamas so he could play cards.
Elmer was proceeded to heaven by his parents George and Ida, his wife Jessie, sisters Sarah, Nola, Millie, Laura and brothers Rex, Homer, Hobert, Jack , Luther, Arcemus and his grandson Timothy. Left behind to cherish his memories are his son Kennth and daughter Dominique Debra; his sister Pansy and brother Earl; sister-in-law Georgia and Hazel: 12 grandchildren; 27 great grandchildren; 11 great-great- grandchildren; several nieces and nephews. Private services will be held on October 3, 2020 at 1300 at Twin Cities Funeral Home, Niceville FL. He will enter into rest at Heritage Gardens Cemetery in Niceville. Expressions of sympathy and condolences may be shared at www.twincitiescremationsfunerals.com
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