The Mass of Christian Burial for James “Jim” Byrne, 81, a longtime Stewartville, MN business owner and farmer will be at 11:00 AM on Saturday (September 12, 2020) at Saint Bernard’s Catholic Church with Rev. Kevin Connolly officiating. Burial with military graveside honors by the Stewartville American Legion will follow at St. Bernard’s Catholic Cemetery. Mr. Byrne died on Monday (September 7, 2020) from complications of an illness with LewyBody Dementia, at Cottagewood Senior Communities, where he had been a resident since June of this year.
James Paul Byrne was born on January 23, 1939 in Rochester, MN to John and Florence (Wilson) Byrne. Jim was raised in Stewartville, where he attended school, graduating from Stewartville High School in 1957. His passion for sports, especially basketball, began in high school when he joined the varsity team as a freshman. After graduation he enlisted into the U.S. Army Reserve and completed six months of basic training in Georgia and then served part-time in the reserve as a military policeman for 10 years. Jim was also employed in the Stewartville community as a route driver with the Racine Creamery and the City of Stewartville as a police officer and patrolman. He started his construction career building homes with Richard Engle and Lyle Janssen Construction in the Stewartville area. Jim was married on June 11, 1966 at Bethel Lutheran Church in Cupertino, CA to Sharon J. Ankeny. Following their marriage the couple lived in Stewartville before moving to rural Stewartville, where they built a house, raised their children, farmed and raised cattle. In 1976, Jim and his wife Sharon, started Jim Byrne Construction and also began plowing and removing snow for businesses, schools, churches and residential properties. Jim’s sons have joined him in the family business as it has continued to grow in the S.E. Minnesota area and Jim continued to work part-time until last year. Sharon was the bookkeeper for the business and also worked as a nurse in Saint Paul, Santa Clara CA, Shamrock In-home Nursing and Saint Mary’s Hospital in Rochester and Olmsted Medical Center in Stewartville, until her retirement in 2001. Jim was a longtime member of Saint Bernard’s Catholic Church in Stewartville. He was a sports enthusiast and Stewartville Tiger fan. He shared his passion and knowledge with his children, grandchildren and many Stewartville students by coaching, mentoring, refereeing, and watching games year-round. Jim enjoyed league bowling, following the Twins and Vikes, playing cards and cribbage with Al and after taking dance lessons with Sharon could waltz and polka with the best of them. He loved time spent with family, especially his grandchildren.
The family would like to extend a special thank you to the numerous medical providers for their outstanding care of our dad: Dr. Andy Greenlund, Sara Jacobsen CNP, Dr. Nicholas Allen, In-home care provider Shirley Burt, the staff in the Haven at Cottagewood and Sara, Amanda, Breanne and Heidi at Seasons Hospice.
Jim is survived by his wife – Sharon - 1 daughter and 3 sons – Chris Byrne(Tammy Brogan) of rural Stewartville; Jeff(Dorie) of Rochester; Sheilah Byrne of Stewartville and Jason(Heather) of rural Stewartville ; 6 grandchildren– Shane, Nathan and Peyton Byrne and Kayla, Audra and Justin “Jack” Byrne; 1 sister - Joan Eibner of Rosemount, MN; 3 brothers – John(Marge) Byrne of Rochester ,MN; Bob(Marge) Byrne of Los Angeles, CA, Roger(Dee Ann) Byrne of Racine, MN and step-mother - Alvina Byrne; mother-in-law - Beulah Ankeny and nieces and nephews. He was preceded in death by his parents, his Aunt Ellen Byrne and brother-in-law Jerry Eibner.
A time of visitation for family and friends will take placefrom 4 to 8:00 P.M. on Friday(September 11, 2020) at St. Bernard’s Catholic Church and one hour prior to the service at the church on Saturday morning. Mask and safe social distancing protocols will be in place. Arrangements are with Griffin-Gray F.H. in Stewartville. Condolences and memories of Jim are welcome at www.griffin-gray.com
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