David F. Byrne, 95, Whitewater, passed away on November 24, 2020 and joined his wife Elizabeth.
David was born December 11, 1924 in Pontiac, Illinois, to Ira and Vera (Rittenhouse) Byrne. He was raised 2 miles northeast of Saunemin on the family farm of four generations. He attended elementary and secondary schools at Saunemin, Illinois, graduating from Saunemin High School in 1942. David attended Illinois State Normal University from September 1942 until June, 1944, both as a civilian and in the Naval Officer Training called V-12. He served in the U.S. Navy from 1943 until 1946, on the destroyer escort 531, Edward H. Allen, in the Atlantic. During the World War II years David met Elizabeth Gebhardt and they were married December 16, 1944. They had three sons; David Charles (Sandra), William Edward (Bette), Paul Franklin (Kathy), thirteen grandchildren and 32 great-grandchildren. In 1994 David and Beth celebrated their 50th wedding anniversary, with family and friends, in Whitewater, Wisconsin. His loving wife, Elizabeth, died October 7, 1995. David attended the University Of Illinois, receiving the Bachelor of Science Degree in Vocational Agriculture and the Master of Science Degree in 1949. From 1955 to 1962, he enrolled in extension and summer courses. In 1962 he took a leave of absence and enrolled for residence in the Doctor of Education Program at the University of Illinois. He received the Doctor of Education degree in June 1964. David Byrne was a teacher and administrator in public schools for 37 years. He started the vocational Agriculture department in Altamont, Illinois in 1949 and after 5 years he became the high school principal and superintendent of the Altamont Community Unit District 10, with only 640 pupils in grades 1 thru 12. From 1958 to 1962 he was Principal of East Leyden High School in Franklin Park, Illinois, with 3100 students in 1958. For 20 years, 1965-1985, he was Superintendent of the Leyden High School District 212, with two high schools in the suburban area near Chicago O’Hare airport. During his last year at Leyden both East Leyden and West Leyden were selected for the National Presidential Award for Excellence.
Whitewater Lake, Wisconsin, was his home after retiring, and for many years he was active in the UMC and Noon Kiwanis. By the time he became 90 he was limited to his walker, pick-up truck, and a Kawasaki Mule. He enjoyed a time of greater relaxation, spending time with family and friends, hosting company at the lake house, and the Investment Club meetings. He watched TV and used the computer to monitor his stock portfolio. He spent the last few years of his life at Fairhaven Retirement Homes where he enjoyed many new friends and activities. On New Year’s Eve, 1996, Dave married Dorothy Davis Barnes, a former classmate at Saunemin High School. With Dorothy’s son, Dr. David Barnes, and her daughter, Penny Manning added to the family, Dave and Dorothy now had 15 grandchildren and 34 great-grandchildren.
Due to the pandemic there will be no formal services at this time.
Nitardy Funeral Home, Whitewater is assisting the family. Online condolences may be made by online at www.nitardyfuneralhome.com