James H. Byrn, of Niles
July 18, 1933 — March 22, 2016
James H. Byrn, 82, Niles, Michigan was called to eternal rest on Tuesday, March 22, 2016 following a lengthy illness.
Born on July 18, 1933, in Mayfield, Kentucky, he was the only child of Oren and Mildred (McAllister) Byrn. On Oct. 1, 1955, he married JoAnne D. Wozniak, who survives.
Also surviving are his three daughters, Kimberly Byrn (Dale Squadroni) and Karen (Rob) Mesaros of South Bend, Indiana and Julie Byrn of Niles, Michigan; two grandchildren, Matthew (Dani) Mesaros of Auburn, CA and Mila (Derick) Jones of South Bend, Indiana; and two great-grandchildren, Ella Grace Jones and Owen Robert Jones of South Bend, Indiana. A third great-grandchild is due on July 4, 2016 to Matthew and Dani Mesaros. He will be missed by his beloved German Shepherd, Max, his Golden Retriever, Crissy, and his Norwich Terrier, Hazel.
He served in the United States Army during the Korean War as a member of the Alaskan Ski Patrol. He received a degree in Mechanical Engineering from Wayne State University. In 1961, he was granted a patent for the veliopede. He developed and was granted the patent to the automotive soft touch steering wheel in 1978. His steady hand and keen intellect mentored young engineers and technicians. They proudly considered him a friend. He retired after 36 years of service from United Technologies in 2003.
A man of many talents and passion; he enjoyed building and flying remote controlled airplanes and restoring classic cars. He was a member of South Bend’s local flight club. He was an avid Notre Dame football fan and very rarely missed a game. He enjoyed gardening, golfing, flying, boating and tennis. His greatest passion was his family and being with them, be it for a barbecue, a birthday party, a holiday party, or a football game, that he was the happiest. He treasured his weekly calls from his grandson Matthew and enjoyed many thought provoking conversations on construction, gardening, and Notre Dame football. While he was incredibly proud of each member of his family, it is the two littlest ones: Ella and Owen “O Man” who captured his heart and brought a twinkle to his eye. They will carry on the legacy of this incredibly sweet, thoughtful and loving man. It is an understatement to say he will be missed.
A visitation will take place Monday from 4 until 8 p.m. at Kaniewski Funeral Home, 3545 N. Bendix Drive, South Bend, Indiana with a rosary at 7 p.m. There will also be a visitation for one hour prior to the 11 a.m. Mass of Christian Burial on Tuesday at St. Mary of the Immaculate Conception Catholic Church, Niles, Michigan. Burial will follow in the St. Joseph Cemetery, South Bend, Indiana, where members of the American Legion Post #284 will conduct military services.
Memorial contributions can be made to Pilots N Paws Non Profit Organization or for Masses prayed in James’ name at St. Mary’s Church in Niles, Michigan. To send online condolences, please visit Kaniewski.com.