Everett E. Byrne of Gridley left his family and friends Thursday, January 24, 2013. He was born in New London, Connecticut on August 14, 1943 to Earl and Vivian Byrne. When he was just a few days old, his mother Vivian, set off with Everett to drive across the country to where her family was living in Gridley, California.
They quietly settled in and waited for Earl, who was at sea serving as a Chief in the Navy. When the war was over, Earl remained in the Navy and the family moved to Long Beach, CA., where Earl was a Navy Recruiter until he retired in 1949 and again moved the family back to Gridley.
Earl and Vivian bought twenty acres east of town and began a small dairy. Everett grew up milking cows twice a day, hauling hay and working with his dad all through his school years. As a senior in high school he convinced his dad to sell the dairy cows and buy a few commercial cows and plant some prune trees. That made his days easier and it gave him more time to play. He went through the Gridley schools and graduated if not with honors at least with relief and happy to move on with his life. He worked for Hugh Bassett as a welder for a few years before taking a job with Libby, McNeil and Libby where he went from welder to becoming the Head Clerk Room Foreman to Assistant Plant Manager. He remained at the cannery for twenty-three years before taking a job with Wood Fuel Processing out of Yuba City. From there he learned the skills and knowledge to strike out on his own and with a friend created his first business, MECO, and then went on to form a second business that has evolved into Byrne Farms, L.L.C.
On August 12, 1967 he married Meredith Kennedy and ended what he always called his wild, misspent youth. They settled in around the corner from the farm and after a year of renting they moved with their new baby Brannon, onto the farm where he helped his dad with the cattle and prunes while working at the cannery. Seven years later and one more addition to to the family – their daughter Minden, Everett and Meredith built a new home on the farm where the family remains today.
Everett loved life. He was always rushing from here to there to get more done in the day. He always said there weren't enough hours in the day to get everything done and he couldn't slow down. As a boy he was in the Boy Scouts and played the accordion, (even playing on a local TV station once). His mother always hoped he would become a musician.
Page 2 of 2 - He and Meredith were members of the Live Oak Dance Club, acting as President many times. Everett loved to dance. As a young couple, they raised, trained and showed Quarter Horses. Loving the competition and friendships they made along the way. When Brannon turned nine and signed up for 4-H, sheep entered into the world and over the years the horses disappeared and a flock of sheep replaced the prune trees and cattle on the farm. Minden followed in her brother's footsteps and had a show career in 4-H. When the Byrne children finished their years in 4-H and FFA Everett and Meredith made the choice to continue on with the sheep. They have been involved in 4-H and FFA for many years raising sheep and helping numerous local children with their projects.
Everett committed his life to his wife, children and grandchildren. He was a handyman, a talented carpenter, welder and a wonderful husband, father, brother-in-law and uncle. He never wanted to move away from his family home and Gridley.
He was preceded in death by his parents Earl and Vivan Byrne. He is survived by his wife Meredith, son Brannon Byrne (Lisa) and daughter Minden Byrne King (Chuck) and four amazing grandchildren, Bryar and Makenna Byrne, Alec Justeson and Vivian King. Everett is loved by many and will truly be missed.
Graveside services will be held at Gridley-Biggs Cemetery on Thursday, January 31, 2013 at 2 p.m., with a gathering at the Gridley Moose Lodge following the services.
In lieu of flowers, the family suggests donations be made in Meredith's name to the ALS Association of Greater Sacramento Chapter, 2717 Cottage Way, Suite 17, Sacramento, CA 95925.