Rev. Harold Newman Byrn, 90, of Phoenix, AZ died peacefully on Jan. 9, 2014.
Born March 27,1923 in Wade, OK, Harold moved to Phoenix with his family in December, 1926. In 1941, he graduated with honors from Phoenix Union High School as a three-year letterman in Track & Field. His senior year he was captain of the Track team and undefeated one-mile State champion.
Harold served three years in the U.S. Army in Europe during World War II and competed on the Army Track team there after the War. It was there that he became certain of his calling to the ministry & his commitment to serve the Lord. He graduated with distinction from Arizona State College in 1948 as a member of the Blue Key National Honorary. He also lettered three years there in Track & Field. As co-captain of the ASC Track team, he twice won the two-mile Border Conference championship.
From 1948 to 1951, Harold attended seminary at Perkins School of Theology, SMU in Dallas, TX where he received his Bachelor of Divinity with high honors. There, he met his wife Ethyl Mae Jordan. They were married on December 26, 1950 in Ethyl’s hometown of Mason, TX.
For 38 years, Harold served nine communities as a pastor of the United Methodist Church in Arizona and Southern California, including the Methodist Church of the Good Shepherd in Kearny and the Hayden Community Church from 1972-1979. He retired in 1988. Throughout his adult life Harold was a devout Christian, dedicated to the ideal of enriching others in their personal relationships with God. When he came to know a person, he took that person into his heart and held them earnestly in prayer. He had many lifelong friendships, which enriched each member of his family. He loved family vacations, and, in retirement, traveling the world with his wife and friends.
After retiring, Harold served 17 years as the first Historic Archivist of the Desert Southwest United Methodist Conference and was awarded for his service by the Bishop in 2002. He wrote (or co-wrote) and published A Dream Unfolding, a history of the Methodist movement in the Southwestern United States, and three books of poetry. In retirement, he was a member of the AZ State Poetry Society and of the Phoenix Friends of C.G. Jung.
A devoted husband, loving father and grandfather, Harold welcomed each of his grandchildren into the world with their own commemorative poem. In addition to his wife of 63 years, Ethyl, he is survived by his brother, David L Byrn (Diana) of Prescott; his three children, David K Byrne (Carolyn Jo) of Phoenix, Lael (Byrn) Seitz (Forrest) of Beaverton, OR and Karl Byrn (Frances) of Santa Rosa, CA; and five cherished grandchildren, Terell, Travis and Tyler Seitz, Megan Byrn, and Aubrey Byrne.
His memorial service will be held at Phoenix First United Methodist Church, 5510 N. Central Ave in Phoenix on Saturday, Feb. 15, at 2 p.m. In lieu of flowers, memorial gifts may be designated in memory of Rev. Byrn to either First United Methodist Church at the above address, or to The Justa Center for Homeless Seniors, 1001 W. Jefferson St, Phoenix, AZ 85007.