Robert Byrne, Class of 1935
Robert W. Byrne, 92, died peacefully at home in Torrington on July 24, 2011. He was the beloved husband of Emma L. (Henning) Byrne for 63 years.
He was born in the Bronx, New York on September 5, 1918, the son of Frank Delaney and Katherine Cecilia (Fink) Byrne. His paternal grandparents, John and Margaret (Delaney) Byrne, and maternal grandmother, Catherine (Mullen) Fink, came to the United States from Ireland in the mid-1800s. Bob graduated from Townsend Harris High School, a prep school for the City College of New York, and attended City College prior to the outbreak of World War II. After the war, he graduated from New York University in 1948 with a degree in accounting and business law. He also received certificates in credit and financial management from the Tuck School of Business at Dartmouth College and Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute in Hartford. He was a member of the 819th Engineer Battalion in World War II, which arrived in the European Theater in July 1942 and built Andrews Field in Braintree, England, the first American-built heavy bomber aerodrome in England. The unit landed in France at Utah Beach on D-Day and was awarded the Presidential Distinguished Unit Citation for construction under fire of the first fighter plane landing strip in Normandy. He was awarded the European African Middle Eastern Campaign Medal, the Army of Occupation Medal for Germany, the World War II Medal and the Good Conduct Medal.
Bob had worked at the National City Bank in New York City for several years before going into service and returned there in October 1945 as a credit analyst. In 1951, he came to Torrington as an accountant with The Torrington Company, retiring as treasurer in 1983 after 33 years.
He is survived by his dear wife, Emma, and their children Rob and wife Lorri of Warwick, RI, Steve and wife Jacquie of Torrington and Penny and husband Joe Dante of Winchester Center. He is also survived by his grandson Bryan Byrne of Torrington, sister Alice Duffy and husband Ray of Huntington Station, NY, sister Eileen Trick of North Massapequa, NY, and numerous nieces and nephews. He was predeceased by his brothers Frank and Ed.
Bob and Emma enjoyed traveling and soon after his retirement drove to California and visited some of the country’s great cities and attractions such as New Orleans, Los Angeles and San Francisco. Over the years they enjoyed trips to Ireland, Portugal, Spain, Italy, Canada as well as Florida, Hilton Head, Myrtle Beach and Palm Springs. Bob was a past member and chairman of the Services for the Elderly Commission at the Sullivan Senior Center and sang with the Belles and Beaux at the Center for over 20 years. He was a member of the Torrington Elks for over 30 years, including singing with the Elks Glee Club, was a past member and treasurer of the Torrington Mental Health Association and worked as a volunteer under the America Reads Program tutoring elementary school children and immigrants. He was also a member the American Legion and Veterans of Foreign Wars. Having enjoyed playing both baseball and golf, Bob continued to follow both sports and remained an avid Yankee fan.