In Memory of



Obituary for Ellen Byrd

Ellen Jane Byrd

1938 – 2023

Ellen Jane Byrd passed away on March 9, 2023. Though currently distraught, Ellen’s family is comforted by the knowledge that her soul lives on and they will one day be reunited in Heaven. Ellen’s death was preceded by that of her husband, Lt. Col. Joseph L. Byrd, Jr., who passed in 2016. She is survived by her children, Joseph (Janice) Byrd III, Jodi (Randy) Turner, Jeff Wahaus, Debra (George) Simon and Christopher (Sarah) Byrd; grandchildren, Joseph (Kim) Byrd IV, Rachael (Greg) Walkup, Matthew Kanfer, Dylan (Amber) Turner, Jessie (Brandon) Noble, Rachael Wahaus, Melody Wahaus, Michael Simon, Nicky Simon, Joey Simon, Caleb Byrd, Zoe Byrd and Wyatt Byrd; brother, Russell (Teresa) Thomas; and too many great grandchildren, nieces and nephews to list here.

Ellen was a loving and devoted wife and mother and was known far and wide as a genuinely nice person (ask anybody). She was born in Leavenworth Kansas, where she met and eventually married the love of her life, Joe, in 1969. After their wedding, wherein Joe wore his dress blues and Ellen rocked a suit jacket and matching mini skirt (this was 60’s, after all), Ellen made a warm and caring home for her family, even through Joe’s deployments to Vietnam, Iran, and (worst of all) Texas. Eventually, the two settled in Athens, Georgia after Joe retired, and that was home for the next forty-plus years. Ellen worked as a secretary at the University of Georgia and also the Garden Club of Georgia. She and Joe were such strong Christians that they could not be limited to a single church. As such, they were dedicated members of Prince Avenue Baptist Church and, later, Green Acres Baptist Church. In the last few years of Ellen’s life, she suffered from dementia, but, through it all, she kept a spark in her eye that revealed she had not lost the strength of her spirit or the depth of her love for her family. Ellen was fortunate enough to live with her daughter, Jodi, and son-in-law, Randy, who cared for her during those final years. She died peacefully with the knowledge that she was surrounded by love. Her family trusts that, after initial introductions in Heaven, she’ll grab her mini skirt, find her soldier, and celebrate, finally free from any earthly disability or discomfort.

Visitation will be held on Wednesday, March 15th at 2:00 pm at the South Canton Funeral Home in Canton, GA, with a memorial service to follow at 3:00 pm ( Internment will be at 11:00 am on March 16 at the Georgia National Cemetery, also located in Canton, GA.

In lieu of flowers, Ellen’s family asks that you pick up the phone and call your mother. Go on. Do it now. We’ll wait.

We love you, mom. See you soon!

South Canton Funeral Home, dedicated to the families we serve, 770-479-3377. Online condolences may be made to the family at