Phil Byrd passed away at the age of 99 years and 5 months on September 12th, 2021 at his home in Urbana. He was born in Washington D.C. on April 15th, 1922 to James R. Byrd and Mary F. (Doll) Byrd. His parents and sister Ruth predeceased him.
In 1943, at his request, he was released from his job as an apprentice machinist at the Washington Navy Yard to join the U.S. Army's 10th Mountain Division, otherwise known as the Winter Army Ski Troops of WWII. He served in mountainous northeastern Italy where he was wounded and awarded the Purple Heart. At the end of the war he served in the honor guard for General Mark Clark's ceremonial visit to Rio de Janeiro, Brazil.
He met his future wife Ardene Catherine Peck of Berlin, Wisconsin when she was working at the Army Map Service in Washington D.C. They married in 1946 at Ardene's home in Berlin, WI and started their family in Washington D.C. where their first daughter Sharon was born in 1949. They moved to the Twinbrook area of Rockville, MD and welcomed another daughter Sandra in 1953. Phil worked as a land surveyor for over 50 years. He laid out numerous buildings, subdivisions and, most notably, the Washington D.C. Metro Subway. The family relocated to a small farm outside of Urbana where they created a "Green Acre" life consisting of chickens, steers, a couple horses and a large garden. The farm also came with numerous fruit trees, blue berry bushes, grapes, blackberries and strawberry plants. Phil lost Ardene in 1966, just two years after moving to the farm. He remarried two more times, first to Lucille Clise, losing her in 1989. He then married Janice Hodgeson in 1993, losing her in 2010.
Phil enjoyed all things outdoor. Family camping trips to Deep Creek Lake and Swallow Falls, hiking, snow and water skiing, kayaking on the C&O Canal, Potomac River and local lakes. Took numerous photographs of birds, animals, insects, flowers and especially toad stools. He was an avid reader of the Old West and the Civil War. He participated in Civil War reenactments as a member of the Washington Blue Rifles. He also wrote short stories about his life growing up and his war experiences.
Phil leaves behind his two daughters, Sharon Offutt of NC and Sandra Staruk of Middletown, MD, grandchildren Wendy Floyd and Kimberly Briese of NC, Michael Staruk, Thomas Staruk and Laura Staruk of MD and Elizabeth Staruk of WI. He also was a Great-Grandfather of 13 and Great-Great-Grandfather of 8.
His family and friends will miss his kindheartedness and crazy sense of humor.
The family will receive friends from 1:30 p.m. to 2 p.m. on Thursday, September 16, 2021 at Stauffer Funeral Home, 1621 Opossumtown Pike, Frederick. Funeral services will begin at 2 p.m. from the funeral home chapel with Rev. Tim May officiating.
Interment will be in Arlington National Cemetery at a later date.
Expressions of sympathy may be shared with the family at www.staufferfuneralhome.com.
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