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'A privilege and an honor' : Family of beloved 104-year-old World War II veteran mourning loss, reminiscing legacy

Peter Byrd died on Tuesday, August 9, 2022 at his home in Beaumont.

BEAUMONT, Texas — Friends and family are mourning the loss of a beloved World War II veteran who they say spread joy and love whenever and wherever he could. 

Peter Graves Byrd Jr, died on Tuesday, August 9, 2022 at his home in Beaumont. Byrd was 104 years old when he died and was born on September 17, 1917.

Byrd served in the Navy during World War II. Byrd had a wife, four children, nine grand children a slew of great grandchildren. Renee Beaumont is one of his daughters, and she said he made 104 look okay.

Byrd and his family were "giants of the Beaumont community," according to Vernon Durden of 100 Black Men of Greater Beaumont.

"He and my mother were a part of a lot of organizations," Beaumont said.

Beaumont said her dad was a cancer survivor. She described him as a happy man who loved to laugh, dance and sing. Byrd loved people and his family.

“I miss my daddy,” Beaumont said. “He was a good daddy. I miss him, but my tears are not for sorrow. They are for sadness.”

Credit: Family

Beaumont said her father loved helping people. He would drive his friends to their doctor’s appointments in Houston or simply ride with them for company.

Byrd is described as a man who was filled with joy all the time and spread that joy where he could. He would bring cards, candy and flowers to older women or widows, because he believed in loving people while they are still alive.

“He enjoyed life on purpose,” Beaumont said. “He shared his joy with everyone, not just family.”

At 104 years old, Beaumont said her dad was still relatively active. He walked with a cane and would wait for summer to come to, “practice his exercises,” which included walking around Beaumont’s kitchen.

Beaumont recalled the times she spent with her father. She said he loved to travel.

“It was a privilege and an honor to have him as a part of my life,” Beaumont said. “He made it exciting. Just amazing to see, just a blessing to be witness to that."

Beaumont said her father would wash their mother’s car on Sunday, would iron her clothes before she went to work, and would pack them lunches before they went to school.

“I remember the little things,” Beaumont said.

Credit: Family

Byrd’s favorite foods were bananas, oatmeal, beans and cornbread. The veteran’s daughter laughed as she recalled some of his, “crazy sayings.”

“He would say, ‘I wouldn’t trade you for a golden Guinea,’” Beaumont said. “Now what’s a golden Guinea? I couldn’t tell you.”

Just like her dad, Beaumont encourages everyone to love on their loved ones while they are still here.

“No one is going to be here forever,” Beaumont said.

Beaumont said she learned many things from her father. She said he did not allow things to linger, so she learned to not worry.

“No matter what, keep moving,” Beaumont said. “No matter what, keep smiling.”

Beaumont believes that just as her father enjoyed life on earth, he is now enjoying eternal life.

Credit: Family

A funeral for Byrd will be held at the Fellowship Missionary Baptist Church located at 1175 Isla Avenue on Saturday, August 20, 2022 at 11 a.m. A visitation will be held before the funeral from 9 a.m. to 11 a.m. 

Those who attend are asked to wear masks and practice social distancing. 

Instead of flowers, the family is asking that donations be made to Mercy Ships. Anyone who would like to make a donation can do so in three ways. 

Byrd will be buried on August 22, 2022 at the Houston National Cemetery located at 10410 Veterans Memorial Drive. 

Credit: Comeaux Community Funeral Chapel

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