James L. "Jim" Byrd, 69, beloved father, brother and husband passed from this life on January 4, 2019 after a courageous six-year battle with renal cancer. He was the middle son of Marvin and Veva Byrd, born on September 16, 1949, in Carrolton, IL. He married Mary Ann Lathrop on July 29, 1972. Jim is survived by his sons: Bryan and wife Amber of Rio Rancho, NM, and Ben and wife Lesley, of Alto, NM; the lights of his life, his grandchildren, Cassidy, Bryce, Everett, and Brooklyn; his brother David and wife LeAnne; his sister-in-law Mary Beth Byrd; special cousin Jean Hurley; along with nephews, nieces, and numerous cousins. Jim was preceded in death by his wife Mary Ann, his parents Marvin and Veva Byrd, his older brother John Byrd, and his nephew Jason Byrd.
Jim moved with his family to Roswell from Illinois in 1957. He soon learned how to make money with a paper route, yard mowing, and various jobs that continued over his life. He graduated from Goddard High school in 1967, and from Eastern New Mexico University in 1971. He was a member of the Sigma Nu Fraternity where he made many lifelong friends. Jim started his law enforcement career with Clovis Police Department in December 1971. Jim moved back to Roswell in August 1972, where he went to work for Roswell Police Department for a year. In 1973, Jim went to work for the Department of Corrections, Probation and Parole Division. He retired from the New Mexico Department of Corrections, Probation and Parole Division in December 1997, as a region manager. He was a member of the American Correction Association, National Association of Probation Executives, Ducks Unlimited, New Mexico Hunter Education Instructor, Noon Optimist Little League Coach, Life member of National Rifle Association, Pecos Valley Trap Club President and member, Roswell Gun Club Board of Directors, and Chaves County Public Land Advisory Board. Jim's favorite hobbies included hunting, shooting and outdoor activities. This passion he passed on to his brother, sons, and grandchildren.
Jim considered himself a spiritual person not a religious person. This was very apparent by how he treated others over his life time and the amazing friends who watched over him and cared for him over these past several months. The family cannot express enough gratitude for their friendship and love they generously besotted upon Jim. Special thanks also to UNMH Cancer Center, Adam’s Services, Kindred Hospice and the Caregivers for their special attention and care.
A celebration honoring Jim will be held on February 2, 2019, at the Roswell Elks Lodge from 4:00 - 6:30 PM. A private family internment is scheduled for June 2019, in Hardin, IL.
To celebrate the life of James L. Byrd, the family requests in lieu of flowers that memorial gifts be made to support the UNM Comprehensive Cancer Center’s Genitourinary Cancer Research Fund. Please make contribution checks to “The UNM Foundation” and mail to: UNM Comprehensive Cancer Center, Development Office, 1201 Camino de Salud, Albuquerque, NM 87106 or give online at https://www.unmfund.org/fund-category/unm-cancer-center/ Please include James Byrd’s name with your check or in the comments section on the online giving form so we know that this gift is in his memory.
My deepest condolences to the Byrd family, Jim was a very loved and we'll respected man. He was my father's best friend when I was growing up, and he had a tremendous impact on my life. He was always kind, generous, patient, and I remember how much he and my dad used to laugh together. Jim and Maryann will both be dearly missed and cherished.
Erika HolleyDenver, CO
RIP Jim. You were truly loved !! We will miss you !! Uncle Floyd and Aunt Amy !!
Floyd HamiltonLake Havasu City, AZ
Bryan & Ben
Our prayers are with you and your families during this difficult time. Jim’s quick smile and sense of humor will be greatly missed. He was one of the nicest people I had
the privilege of knowing. May the Lord hold all of you in the palm and peace of his love.
Margaret & Frank Chavez
Margaret ChavezRoswell, NM
With heavy hearts our deep condolences to the family of our dear neighbors and friends, he was a true gem in our neighborhood didn't visit but when we passed or anyone there was always a big smile and a wave, He will be missed no doubt.
Orlando & Merlinda PadillaRoswell, NM
I only met Jim a handful of times when I would stop to visit Mary Ann. We worked together at GHS, but I know Mary Ann adored him and was so proud to be his wife. Now they are together again and the angels sing.
Dawn ScottRoswell, NM
Bryan & Ben, so sorry to hear about Jim … he was a good friend of mind for more than 50 years, one of best people I knew.
May the Lord rise to meet him, may the winds be always at his back, may the warm sun shine on his face sndthe soft rain always fall at his feet. May GOD hold nim in the palm of his hand until we all meet again.
Terry & Wesley DavisRoswell, Vail Az., NM
I wanted to express heartfelt condolences to all of Jim’s family. Death is the hardest thing we have to deal with in life. I know my words can’t change anything and can do little to ease the pain you are feeling, so I pray that the God of comfort calm your hearts and help you heal. (2 Thessalonians 2:16,17) Lean on Him in the days to follow. One way that God comforts us today is by moving people who care about us to give us words of encouragement that we need to hear. For the Bible’s answers to questions about grief and death please visit JW.org.
Elaine Lambert, LA
Bryan and Ben, our deepest condolences to you and your family. As a Flores in-law niece, I am honored to be "one" of his favorites as he said. He was one man I will always cherish and carry in my heart. Peace and love to you.
Danny and Bell Flores
Annabelle FloresCarlsbad, NM
Byrd Family, our hearts were saddened to read about the passing of Jim. May the many fond memories of him sustain you during this most difficult time. May you also find comfort in our Creator’s words where he promises to reunite us with our beloved ones in a perfect world where pain and sorrow will be a thing of the past. (Isa 25:8; Rev. 21:4) Our prayers are with you all.
My prayers to Bryan and Ben and their families. Jim had a personalty that was larger than life and a heart to go with it. His presence will missed.
Pearl BaileyClaremore, OK
My deepest sympathy to the Byrd family. May you find the comfort that you need during this difficult time. We look forward to the fulfillment of Gods promise in John 5:28, 29 when we will see our loved ones again.
Diana P., NY
I knew Jim for many years. We played Howler football at RHS for Jim Waldrip and Vannie Graves in 1964-65. I served on the CCSECU Board of Directors with Mary Ann for many years. Good people. I will miss them both.
Lloyd ChavesRoswell, NM
So sorry for your loss, both Mary Ann and Jim were great friends through our Roswell school years. We so enjoyed visiting with them at all our class reunions and missed them both at our 50th.
Our sincere condolences.
Corky and Blair Loudat
Corky LoudatGresham, OR
Our deepest condolences to the Byrd family, extended family and friends. We are honored to celebrate his life with you along with all his extended law enforcement family.
Jeremy VaughanAlbuquerque, NM
The Montoya's send their condolences to the family. In our thoughts and prayers... rest in peace in God's hands now...
Frank N. MontoyaRoswell, NM
Jim and family have been personal friends for over 35 years. Our family is deeply saddened by Jim's passing. I will specifically miss his humor at the trap range on Sunday afternoons.
Patrick & Teresa BarncastleRoswell, NM
The thought of Jim will always bring happy memories to my mind. What a kind and lovely man! He will be truly missed and I am thankful that he was a part of those special growing up years in my life when we were forever young.
Nancy Parrott, NM
When I first meant Mr.James Byrd, & his wife! It’s like two Angels sent from heaven to remind me how Life is so Precious! When God created Angels these lovely couples were was a Gift from God to me! When I heard God has taken you back, I rejoice with you, even though I will miss you dearly! It was A Pleasure, Honor to know you Mr.Bryd & Mrs.Bryd ,,,, I was Blessed! I cherish both of you in my Heart forever!
Gloria MartinezAlbuq, NM
Bryan and Ben, I am so sorry to hear about your Dad! He was such a great person and a great friend. I have lots of fond memories of him and your Mom.
Ellen LassetterSan Angelo, TX
Jim, I just want to thank you and Mary Ann for putting memories with me that will last me all my life. Growing up with your two sons and being treated like one of the Byrds is something I've always held onto even after all these years. I will always keep you and your wife close to my heart. Rest in peace with your wife now Mr. Byrd. Thank you for everything. You will be missed.
Clay M. MahanPalo Alto, CA
Jim was such a wonderful friend. Even though we didn't see each other often, when we did it was always a joy. I am so sorry to lose him so soon. My prayers and love are with family and friends.
John PeedAlexandria, AL
So sorry to hear about Jimmy. He was one of the first kids I met when I moved Roswell in the 5th grade . Went all the way through school with him. I thought a lot of Jimmy. Rest in Peace my friend.
Jon HensonDublin, TX
Bryan,Ben and Families,
You are in out thoughts and prayers.
Jim was a good friend. We will miss him. What wonderful memories we will have forever.
Love to each of you,
Billy and Sharon
Bill and Sharon BirdRoswell, NM