Thelma Lee Harrison Byrd, 98, of Virginia Beach, passed peacefully from this life into eternal life with Jesus Thursday, Jan. 23, 2020. Mom was the daughter of Lillian Lee Hogge and William Wilton Harrison of Norfolk and one of nine children who all preceded her in death, including seven brothers and one sister.
She had a very special bond as a little girl with her grandmother, Mary Caroline Dunford King, and spoke of her often.
Her faith that Christ is who He says He is, that He died for our sins and rose from the dead, gave mom assurance that when her body failed, she would rest secure in God’s presence.
Mom and dad, Edward L. Byrd, were married for 64 years. Mom is our gift from God and true blessing to each of us. She always put us first, and loved us unconditionally (a miraculous accomplishment on her part). She is survived by her children and their spouses, Bobby and Shirley Byrd, Dana Pugh (her daughter and caregiver), Katherine Byrd and Lou Arnold and Mark and Rhonda Byrd; and grandchildren, Michael and Lori Byrd, Shelly and Jeff White, Ross and Hannah Byrd and Caroline and Blake Dozier. She loved and is deeply loved by us all, including her 13 great-grandchildren, Mary Parker, Maggie, Meredith, Ila Grace, Susannah, Virginia, Annabelle, Taylor, Jackson, Luke, Samuel, Isaiah and David. Mom is also survived by her nieces, Barbara Wilke and Juanita Winston; nephews, Roland Benton Jr. and Michael Harrison; and several more relatives.
Mom was educated in Norfolk Public Schools, and, as a child, attended Christ and St. Luke’s Church, Norfolk. She was an award-winning Avon sales leader in her community; and worked hard to bring in money she immediately spent on her children. She learned to drive at age 48 in order to drive her children to sports, drama and other after school activities.
She loved the Outer Banks of North Carolina; and spent many relaxing summers at her cottage in Kill Devil Hills with her family. It was her heaven-on-earth retreat. She was a gifted flower arranger and won blue ribbons in her Garden Club; and used her special gifts to decorate the altar at her church, First Church of God Anderson, for all important church seasons, including Christmas and Easter over many years. Mom’s only request of us (her children) the day before she left was for us to “love one another,” and we all intend to obey her.
A celebration service of mom’s life will be held at 11 a.m., Tuesday, Jan. 28, at H.D. Oliver Funeral Apts. Chapel, 2002 Laskin Road, Virginia Beach. Her grandson, Ross E. Byrd, and Navy Chaplain Diego Londono will preside. The family will receive friends at The Princess Anne Country Club, 3800 Pacific Ave., Virginia Beach, immediately following the service.
In lieu of flowers, donations may be made to the Virginia Beach Rescue Squad and Fire Department.
Share online condolences with the family at H.D. Oliver Funeral Apts.