Cover photo for William Byrne's Obituary
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1926 William 2021

William Byrne

December 20, 1926 — August 13, 2021

William “Bill” Byrne passed away peacefully on August 13, 2021, in Bozeman with his family by his side. Bill was born on December 20, 1926, to James and Margaret (Douhan) Byrne. He was raised on the family farm in Creston with his two sisters Francis “Mickey” and Margaret “Dottie” and cousin John Brady.

Growing up and working on the family farm, Bill attended Cayuse Prairie Grade School and graduated from Flathead High School in 1944. He was active in FFA serving in various elected positions including Chapter President. Following high school, Bill served an unprecedented two years as Montana State FFA President.

In the early years after high school, Bill had two interests besides farming and FFA - elk hunting and flying. The former remained a life-long passion.

Bill found love and married Dorothy F. Fassler in 1961. They spent a year on the farm before departing on the adventure of their lives by moving to Anchorage, Alaska. In Anchorage, Bill worked for the city as a heavy equipment operator. Their weekends and vacations were spent hiking, camping, fishing for salmon, hunting moose, digging clams, and spending time at their cabins on Big Lake.

Everything changed in 1964. First, the 9.2 Earthquake on March 27, and then starting a family in November with the adoption of their first child, Ed. Two years later, in 1966, they welcomed the arrival of their second son, Charles.

By 1969, Bill moved the family back to Montana and settled in Missoula where they were blessed with a daughter, Marianne, in 1970. Bill worked the next 18 years as a large equipment operator for the Montana Department of Transportation. His job was to work on the highway striping crew during warmer weather and to plow snow and put down sand in the winter months. He retired in 1989. He was active with the Teamsters Union and remained active in the local FFA chapter receiving multiple state and national awards.

Bill never forgot Alaska. In 1989, Bill and Dorothy traveled to Alaska for an extended visit. They also traveled to Eastern Montana and the Dakotas to see the Badlands and a myriad of antique tractor museums.

Bill was proud of his Irish-Catholic heritage and was active in St. Anthony’s Parish in Missoula. In May 1993, he finally made the pilgrimage to Ireland with Dottie and their cousins where they traced family roots and toured the “Emerald Isle”.

During the last decades of his life, William enjoyed caring for his lawn and shoveling the snow for the neighbors on his block. To the end, he was a dedicated Lady Griz basketball fan.

Bill was preceded in death by his parents, wife Dorothy of 42 years, and six siblings. He is survived by his sons Edward and Charles, daughter Marianne (Colton) Schumacher, and five grandchildren.

Funeral services will be held at noon on September 16th at Saint Anthony’s Parish in Missoula, MT. Burial will be held at Fairview Cemetery in Columbia Falls, MT on September 18th, at 1:00 p.m. A wake will follow at the family farm at 628 Lake Blaine Road.

To order memorial trees or send flowers to the family in memory of William Byrne, please visit our flower store.

Service Schedule

Past Services

Funeral Ceremony

Thursday, September 16, 2021

Starts at 12:00 pm (Mountain (no DST) time)

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Graveside Service

Saturday, September 18, 2021

Starts at 1:00 pm (Mountain (no DST) time)

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