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 lifetime 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.
Arrangements have been entrusted to Ballard Funeral Home and Crematory. An online registry can be accessed at www.ballardfuneralhome.com.