Erick Preston Byrd, age 69, of Watkinsville, Georgia, died January 7, 2019 at Piedmont Athens Regional Hospital in Athens, Georgia. He was surrounded by family.
Mass services will be held at 10:00 a.m. on Friday, January 11, 2019 at Our Divine Savior Catholic Church with Father Peter Oyenugba and Deacon J. Brian Bergeron officiating. The rosary will be held at the chapel of Albritton Funeral Directors on Thursday evening 6:00 to 6:30 p.m. The family will receive friends from 6:30 to 8:00 p.m. immediately following the Rosary on Thursday.
Erick was born on February 3, 1949 at Dwight D. Eisenhower Army Medical Center in Augusta, Georgia to Joseph and Ingeborg (Danz) Byrd. He spent his childhood in Newfoundland, Germany and England where he enjoyed traveling with his mother, stepfather and sister. Having been exposed early to many languages and cultures in Europe, Erick developed a passion for languages and cultures.
He earned a Master’s Degree in Foreign Language Education from the University of South Carolina. Most of his career was spent teaching German, German literature and Spanish at various private and public high schools in North Carolina, South Carolina and Georgia. As a graduate student he taught at USC and the University of Georgia.
Although Erick was passionate about foreign language, he said the most important thing he could teach any student was how to learn, believing that we should always seek knowledge to understand the world around us.
He was a naturally talented artist, craftsman and musician. His interests included woodworking and playing his guitar. He enjoyed discussing artistic technique with his youngest daughter, Liza and he enjoyed camping and being outdoors with his youngest son, Andrew.
Erick is survived by his mother Inge Thornley, sister Melanie Schuh, wife Mary (Martin) Byrd, son Colin and his wife Carla Byrd, daughters Emily Byrd, Liza Byrd, son Andrew Byrd, and grandchildren Craig Griffin, Grady Byrd, Wynn Byrd, Daily Byrd and Georgia Byrd.
He is preceded in death by his father Joseph Byrd and his stepfather William Thornley.
Some of Erick's favorite lyrics from Let it Be written by John Lennon and Paul McCartney: "And when the night is cloudy , There is still a light that shines on me. Shine until tomorrow, let it be. I wake up to the sound of music Mother Mary comes to me Speaking words of wisdom, let it be."
Donations may be made to: Kindred Hospice Foundation, 3350 Riverwood Parkway, Suite 1400 Atlanta, GA 30339 and Our Divine Saviour Catholic Church 1205 Love Ave. Tifton, GA 31794.
Albritton Funeral Directors is in charge of the arrangements.