Nov. 13, 1923 - April 20, 2013
Thomas W. Byrne, 89, Altoona, died Saturday afternoon at his home.
He was born in Altoona, son of the late Harry Jacob and Mary Agnes (Green) Byrne. He married his wife of 64 years, Patricia A. Hollern, on Oct. 9, 1948, at Sacred Heart Catholic Church, Altoona.
Surviving are his wife; nine children: Thomas P. (Bev Woodring) of Altoona, Patricia (Michael) Minick of Elizabethtown, Michael (Sherry Ruscito) of Altoona, Kevin (Jane Hummel) of Hollidaysburg, Mark of Altoona, Mary (Thomas) Seifert of Indiana, Pa., Anne (Christopher) Berger of Gettysburg, Christopher (Kristi Betancourt) of Lock Haven and Kerry of Altoona; 16 grandchildren; 16 great-grandchildren; and a sister-in-law, Joanne Byrne.
Tom was the last of his immediate family. He was preceded in death by four brothers: Harry, Clair, Leo and Richard.
He left high school in 1943 and was a U.S. Army veteran of WWII. He participated in the battles of New Guinea, Bismarck Archipelago, Luzon and the Philippines. He received the Good Conduct Medal, American Defense Service Medal, Philippine Liberation Medal and Asiatic-Pacific Campaign Medal with three bronze stars, recognizing his company's participation in driving the hostile forces of Japan from the Philippines and their eventual surrender in 1945. This instilled in his family pride and respect for him and for those with whom he served.
Tom retired as a City of Altoona firefighter in 1973 with 23 years of service, and he was Fireman of the Year in the same year. He served as a city councilman in charge of the Highway, Water and Public Safety departments during his 12 years of service. He also served on the State Transportation Commission for four years. Previously, he had been the owner of the Gulf gas station on 18th Street and 20th Avenue for eight years. He always worked multiple jobs to support his family.
He was a lifetime member of Our Lady of Fatima Catholic Church, Altoona, a member of the Knights of Columbus and St. Stanislaus Kostka Brotherhood and a past member of the Knights of Equity. He enjoyed golfing and cooking Sunday breakfast. He was an avid Notre Dame and Pittsburgh Steelers fan and enjoyed watching the games at Mike's Court.
Tom's epitaph reads, "He had faith in God and the courage to do what he thought was right."
Friends will be received from 3 to 8 p.m. Thursday, April 25, 2013, at Jones Funeral Home, where a vigil for the deceased will be celebrated during the visitation. A funeral Mass will be celebrated at 10 a.m. Friday, April 26, 2013, at Our Lady of Fatima Catholic Church, Altoona, Father James D. Zatalava officiating. Committal rites will be at Calvary Cemetery.
In lieu of flowers, memorial contributions may be made to The Arc of Blair County, 431 Jackson Ave., Altoona, PA 16602; Blair County Special Olympics, P.O. Box 648, Altoona, PA 16603; or Home Nursing Agency Hospice, 201 Chestnut Ave., P.O. Box 352, Altoona, PA 16603.