CHARLESTON -- Mr. Ernest "Al" Alfred Byrd, widower of Carolyn Fairchild Byrd, entered into eternal rest Tuesday, Sept. 3, 2019. The family will receive friends Friday, Sept. 13, 2019, at J. Henry Stuhr Inc., West Ashley Chapel, 3360 Glenn McConnell Parkway, from 5 to 7 p.m.
A celebration of life service will be held Saturday, Sept. 14, 2019, at Cherokee Place United Methodist Church at 11 a.m. Interment will follow at Live Oak Memorial Gardens.
Al was born July 20, 1928, in Branchville, South Carolina, son of Julian Ernest Byrd and Bessie Ayers Byrd. Al attended Branchville High School (class of 1945) where he was a pitcher and first baseman on the 1945 State Championship High School Baseball Team. He then went on to receive a degree in Civil Engineering from Clemson University (class of 1950) and was commissioned as a 2nd Lieutenant in the U.S. Army Reserve.
Al met the love of his life, Carolyn Fairchild - formerly of Meridian, Mississippi - in 1949, and married her on June 6, 1952.
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Following graduation from Clemson, Al was employed by the S.C. Highway Department (SCHD) from February, 1951 to November, 1956, with the exception of 20 months in the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers. Tours included Fort Belvoir, Virginia, as well as South Korea, where he received a letter of thanks from the President of South Korea for efforts that improved water supply for a Korean village. Other projects he completed during his time with SCHD included Wappoo Creek Bridge and bridges leading to Folly Beach. In November of 1956, Al took a position with the District Public Works Office of the 6th Naval District, a forerunner of the Southern Division of Naval Facilities Engineering Command. During his 38-year tenure, he advanced through several positions to ultimately hold the title of Director of Programs and Controller for 10 years. In this position, he received numerous awards including a Presidential Citation for cost reduction efforts and 2 Department of Navy Superior Civilian Service awards, the second highest award available to Navy Civilian Employees.
A lifelong Methodist, Al served as teacher of the Lee Sunday School Class at Cherokee Place United Methodist Church for 50 years and held numerous leadership positions including Financial Committee Chairman and Board Chairman. Al was the Chairperson of the Chicora-Cherokee Community of Shalom from its inception in 1965 until 2019. Al was an active supporter of Clemson University for more than 74 years. On Saturdays during football season, he and Carolyn could be found at Death Valley in Clemson. He served as an IPTAY representative for many years and was the Charleston County IPTAY Chairman for almost 20 years. An avid golfer, Al was a member of the Shadowmoss Country Club and served as Golf Committee Chairman for several years. In addition to running the Saturday morning golf blitz at Shadowmoss, he was also director for the Charleston Interclub group for more than 10 years.
He is predeceased by his loving wife of 67 years, Carolyn, his parents and his sister, Rose Byrd Miles.
He is survived by his two sons, Steven E. Byrd (Joan) of Tallahassee, Florida, and James K. Byrd (Robin) of Charleston, one daughter, Michele Arms (David) of Orlando, Florida; seven grandchildren, Danielle, Melissa, Christine, Jenna, Carlye, Justin and Matthew; and eight great-grandchildren. Al is also survived by his sister, Sarah Ann Fesperman of Social Circle, Georgia.
Memorials may be made to Cherokee Place United Methodist Church, 2105 Cosgrove Avenue P.O. Box 70396, North Charleston, SC 29405.