L.G. (Gary) Byrd

Published 3:14 pm Friday, March 20, 2009

Lloyd Garland (Gary) Byrd, 85, of Tryon died Friday, March 20, 2009 in Tryon.

He was born in Atlanta, Ga., on May 6, 1923 and was the son of Lloyd Porter and Gladys Ardee (Daniell) Byrd.

He was a consulting civil engineer from 1949 until his death, and was inducted into the National Academy of Engineers in 1987 &dquo;for pioneering contributions to highway maintenance management systems and research.&dquo;

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In 1963, he formed a partnership with Bertram D. Tallamy, the Federal Highway Administrator in the Eisenhower administration, and later formed the firm of Byrd, Tallamy, MacDonald and Lewis. It became a division of Wilbur Smith and Associates in 1972.

As senior vice president and director of Wilbur Smith and Associates, Byrd was principal-in-charge of projects including major design projects for the Washington Metropolitan Area Transit Authority, as well as departments of transportation in Virginia, Illinois, New York, Pennsylvania and Maryland.

He led management systems studies covering highway operations, maintenance and equipment fleets for transportation agencies in Idaho, Nevada, Montana, Colorado, Ohio, Illinois, New York, New Jersey, Massachusetts, Bolivia and Jordan.

He also led the inspection and evaluation of rehabilitation requirements for highway bridges in Virginia, Illinois, New York, North Carolina and Pennsylvania.

From 1984 to 1986, he was interim director of the Strategic Highway Research Program, responsible for planning a $150 million, five-year national research effort for the American Association of State and Highway Transportation officials.

He was the editor of the &dquo;Street and Highway Maintenance Manual,&dquo; American Public Works Association, 1985, and the &dquo;Handbook of Highway Engineering,&dquo; Van Nostrand Reinhold Co. Inc., New York, 1975.

He was a member, held leadership positions in, and received numerous awards from the National Research Council, the Transportation Research Board of the National Academies, the American Association of Engineering Societies, and the American Society of Civil Engineers.

He started his career as an engineer with the Ohio Department of Highways and the Ohio Turnpike Commission and from 1960-1963 was associate editor of Public Works Publications, N.J.

He served during WWII from 1943 to 1945, in the 76th Division, Ardennes Forest, Patton&squo;s Army.

He received his bachelor of civil engineering degree from Ohio State University in 1950 and received the Distinguished Alumnus Award from the OSU College of Engineering in 1978.

He was also very active in civic life, serving as the chairman of the Fairfax County (Va.) Human Rights Commission from 1978-79, president of the Fairfax County Chamber of Commerce, 1975 to 1976, and a member of the Hospice of the Carolina Foothills board of directors from 2002 to 2007. He was a member of the Tryon Country Club, the Rotary Club of Tryon and the Congregational Church in Tryon.

He is survived by; his wife of 66 years, Jeanne Parkhurst Byrd of the home; two daughters, Donna Van Ness (David) of Monument, Colo., and Julie Burke (Pat) of Tryon; two sons, Gary Byrd of Buffalo, N.Y., and Jeff Byrd (Helen) of Tryon; three brothers, Daniel Byrd of Houston, Texas, Richard Byrd (Janine) of Downers Grove, Ill., and Robert Byrd of Columbus, Ohio. Also surviving are 10 grandchildren, Matthew, Amy, Greg, Adam, Katie, Emily, David, Sarah, Daniel and Colleen and two great grandchildren, Thomas and Finn.

A memorial service will be held at 2 p.m., Tuesday, March 24, in the Tryon Congregational Church, with Rev. Bob Barrows officiating. Memorials may be made to Hospice of the Carolina Foothills. Online guest register&bsp; at www.mcfarlandfuneralchapel.com.

McFarland Funeral Chapel, Tryon, is in charge of arrangements.