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James Edgar Byron, 83

JULY 14, 1927-JULY 2, 2011

July 07, 2011

James Edgar Byron, 83, former president of the W.D. Byron and Sons Tannery in Williamsport, Md., died Saturday evening at his home in Shepherdstown, W.Va., surrounded by his family.

Mr. Byron was the son of William Devereux Byron II and Katharine Edgar Byron, both of whom represented Western Maryland in the U.S. House of Representatives. He was also the grandson of Louis Emory McComas, who represented Maryland in both Houses of Congress.  

Mr. Byron was born July 14, 1927, in Williamsport, Md., the second of five boys. He graduated from St. Albans School in Washington, D.C., in 1945, and from Princeton University in 1949 with a Bachelor of Science degree in biochemistry. After graduating from The Pratt Institute in Brooklyn, N.Y., in 1953, he joined W.D. Byron & Sons in Williamsport, becoming president in 1961. In 1978, after selling the business, Mr. Byron became an analyst of the leather industry in the International Trade Commission for the U.S. Department of Commerce and retired in 2000 after a long and interesting career.

He married Lynne Redgrave Kerwin, of Washington, D.C., in 1952, and they lived in Williamsport and Hagerstown before moving to Windward Farm in Shepherdstown in 1981. Lynne Byron died in 1998.

Active in and around Washington County, Md., Mr. Byron served as mayor of Williamsport from 1961 to 1965, and was on the board of directors of the Washington County National Savings Bank for many years. He was Junior Warden of Saint John’s Episcopal Church and was a longtime member of The Assembly Club, Fountain Head Country Club and Rotary International. He continued his family’s tradition as an avid horseman, foxhunting with the New Market Hounds. In 1972, Mr. Byron was instrumental in reactivating the Antietam Hunt in Washington County, for whom he served as Field Master and Honorary Secretary. Later, in Shepherdstown, he served on the Water Board for Shepherdstown.

One of his proudest accomplishments was as Chairman of the Town Museum of Williamsport. He and Mrs. Byron were able to shepherd the Barn at Springfield Farm through the process of becoming a museum, hoping to secure its future contributions for the citizens and visitors of Williamsport.

He is survived by his wife of 12 years, Snowdon Durham Byron of Shepherdstown; his brother, Louis McComas Byron of Tuscon, Ariz.; four children, James Edgar Byron Jr. of Alexandria, Va., Sally Byron LaBarre of Bel Air, Md., Keith Alexander Byron of Alexandria and Katharine Devereaux Byron of Shepherdstown; stepsons, Kenneth DuVal Tyler of Buckhannon, W.Va., and Richard Harris Tyler, of Hagerstown, Md.; and nine grandchildren.

The funeral service for Mr. Byron will be this Saturday, July 9, 2011, at 11 a.m. at Saint John’s Episcopal Church, 101 S. Prospect St., Hagerstown, with burial at Riverview Cemetery on Doubleday Hill in Williamsport.

The family will receive friends Friday, July 8, from 6 to 8 p.m. at 208 W. Washington St. in Shepherdstown.

In memory of Mr. Byron, contributions may be made to the Barn at Springfield, Williamsport Town Hall, 2 N. Conococheague St., P.O. Box 307, Williamsport, MD 21795; Saint John’s Episcopal Church, 101 S. Prospect St., Hagerstown, MD 21740; or Hospice of the Panhandle, 122 Waverly Court, Martinsburg, WV 25403.

Gerald N. Minnich Funeral Home, Bryan K. Kenworthy P.A., 305 N. Potomac St., Hagerstown, has been entrusted with the arrangements. Online condolences are accepted at

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