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Thurman J. Byrd

Thurman J. Byrd
  • December 6, 1914 - December 10, 2016
  • Corpus Christi, Texas

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Thurman was born in Coleman County on December 6, 1914 to Jesse Byrd and Elizabeth Parlee Bridges Byrd. He slipped into his world of peace on December 10, 2016. He was the middle son in a family of 13. During this past 102 years Thurman has had many careers. He picked cotton in his early years. In 1934, he and his family moved to Corpus Christi where he worked for Chapman Ranch driving a tractor for One Dollar ($1.00) a day. He quit smoking when cigarettes went to .25 a pack. In 1936, he was with a group of fishermen that had a whopping 18 boat-loads of fish weighing about 18,000 lbs. in one night. Thurman raced cars, rode bulls, poured concrete was a proficient carpenter and a good auto mechanic. He made his own wine from his own fruit produce, played guitar and sang (even made up songs). He was one of the best Pool Players around. He loved to dance and learn new dances. He had a marvelous sense of humor like no other. He came up with some sayings you have never heard before, nor will hear again.

Thurman married his first wife, Irene Bender Barta, in 1942. Irene had one son, Victor Barta. In 1945, he and his brother built and operated an automobile garage on South Port Avenue. When WWII broke out, Thurman went to work as an aircraft mechanic at O & R. In 1947, after the war, he quit work and he and his wife built a café in Flour Bluff. They opened Byrd's Café on March 1, 1950. Later, they leased out the café and they both started commercial fishing. For the next 40 years, they made a living fishing, running trot lines in the waters from below Yarborough's Pass to north of Rockport.

In 1992, they confined their fishing to the local waters and Thurman started his life-long dream of just gardening. His wife became ill and died in January 1997 after 55 years of marriage. He still did his gardening but in addition, his night life took on dancing at the Senior Centers. He loved dancing and was very good at it. He renewed a friendship with Patricia Clawson who's husband died in 1994. They enjoyed dancing, playing pool and just being together. She and Thurman married in April 1998. Thurman has served as a volunteer at Ethel Eyerly Senior Center and was a member of the RSVP for the city of Corpus Christi. He has served on the Ethel Eyerly Senior Center Site Council and until recently helped with setting up one of three Wii Bowling Systems using projectors for the Senior Center. He has bowled a 300 game. He was still very active even though his dancing days were over. His main passion was playing dominoes on Sunday afternoons after church. He was a friend to everyone and was a joy to be around. He maintained his own 1-acre yard.

Thurman was preceded in death by both his parents and siblings, Cecil Byrd, Eithel Byrd Adams, Irene Byrd, Clinton " Bud" Byrd, Beatrice Byrd, Willard Byrd, Lena Byrd Crane, Jeanie Byrd, Virgilene Byrd Brock, Clois Byrd Goodman; two step-sons, Victor Barta and Allen Francis Clawson.
Thurman leaves behind his wife of 17 years, Patricia Byrd; two step-sons, Gene Edward Clawson (Sarita Bennett), and William "Billy" (Glenda) Clawson. He has ten step-grandchildren, Jeremy (Tara) Clawson, Curtis (Ashley) Clawson, Mike (Lora) Prescott, Christopher Clawson, Billy Joe (Yuki) Clawson, Amber Clawson (Jeff Grissom), Crystal Clawson (Jacob Woodward), Leah Byrd, Chris (Blossom) Barta, and Steve Barta, and numerous step-great-grandchildren. He leaves behind one sister Vera Dee Redding Matthers, and numerous nieces and nephews.

Visitation will be held from 6:00 p.m. to 8:00 p.m. on Tuesday, December 13, 2016 at Seaside Funeral Hom. A Funeral Service will be held at 1:00 p.m. on Wednesday, December 14, 2016 at Seaside Funeral Home Chapel. Interment will follow at Seaside Memorial Park.