Joseph Earl “Grandpa Joe” Byrne, 78, of Kennewick, Wash., a former Baker County resident, died Sept. 17, 2006, at his home surrounded by those he loved.
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His funeral will be at 1 p.m. Friday at the Tri-Cites Funeral Home, 1401 S. Union St. at Kennewick, Wash.
Joe was born on Dec. 6, 1927, at New Bridge to Ralph Lafayette Byrne and Effie Gladys Garrett Byrne. He spent his youth at Sparta until 1934 when his parents bought a ranch in the Lower Powder River Valley.
He was a 1946 Baker High School graduate. He enlisted in the U.S. Army and served in the 1st Cavalry in occupied Japan from 1946 to 1948, when he was honorably discharged. While serving in the Army, Joe was honored with the award of “Soldier of the Month.”
A family man always, Joe’s family came first. He will be remembered for many things, among them his twinkling blue eyes, a love for his family, farm animals, kitties, peppermint gum, “tasties” and tractor rides. Joe loved old trucks and tractors and especially enjoyed talking about trucks and tractors with his family and his many friends.
A jack-of-all-trades and master-of-all, Joe was a self-employed rancher, trucker, mechanic and equipment trader. For a number of years, he and his family did custom combining. He also hauled farm products and grapes for the wineries in his later years.
Joe loved designing and engineering his own tools and equipment. When it came to math, he was a whiz with numbers. His family can recall giving him number problems and square-root problems. Joe had the amazing ability to solve the problems quickly in his mind.
“By the time we punched the numbers into a calculator, he had the answer, and it was always correct and carried to many decimal places,” his family said.
Throughout his life’s journey, Joe lived in Eastern Oregon, briefly in western Montana and in eastern Washington. Much of his life was spent at Kennewick with his best friend and wife of 35 years, Marion.
He was loved by all and will be greatly missed, his family said.
He was preceded in death by his mother and father and his sister, Freda.
Survivors include his wife, Marion, of Kennewick; his sisters and brothers; his children; and numerous grandchildren and great-grandchildren.
In lieu of flowers, the family suggests memorial contributions to the Tri-Cities Chaplaincy Hospice House, 2108 W. Entiat St., Kennewick, WA 99337.
Used with permission from: Baker City Herald, Baker City, Oregon, September 21, 2006
Transcribed by: Belva Ticknor