Capt. Donald Austin Byrne
LONGWOOD, Fla. – Capt. Donald Austin Byrne, only child of Terence Julius Byrne and Margaret Mary Ferguson died on February 24, 2017. Born in 1934 in Manhattan, New York, and raised in Flushing, N.Y. After primary school at St. Nicholas of Tolentine, he graduated from Xavier High School’s ROTC program Class of 1951. Don briefly attended Stevens Institute of Technology before enlisting in the United States Air Force.
After graduating in top 10 of his class at United States Air Force Aircraft & Powerplant Mechanic School, he took flight training at Bryan Air Force Base (Class 55-J). Don served on active duty in Libya and Peru between 1952-1959 and in the Air Force Reserve until 1970. In 1980, Don was thrilled to fly “Fifi,” moving the B-29 bomber from Grand Rapids, Michigan to St. Louis, Missouri, for an air show.
After close to 30 years of flying for Eastern Airlines, Capt. Byrne retired in 1989. Throughout the 1990’s Don flew his Cessna 310R for his business, Chatham Air Charter. He served the Chatham Municipal Airport as the Aircraft Owners and Pilots Association Airport Support Network Volunteer. Don also volunteered for Angel Flight Northeast, providing free air transportation for needy medical patients.
Don married Arlene E. Cole of Quincy in 1958. After four children together, they divorced and she predeceased him in 2013. Don married Judith in Chatham in 1985. Together they operated Grassy Acre Cottages on Main Street in Chatham. In 1999, Don and Judy retired to Brewster where they continued making happy memories with their large blended family.
Don was an avid reader, boater, fisherman, and woodworker. Many days Don & Judy could be found digging clams, checking their lobster traps, or enjoying walks and picnics with the grandkids at the Cape Cod Museum of Natural History and Brewster’s many public beaches, most often Paine’s Creek. After residing on Cape Cod since the mid-1970’s, Don fell ill during a visit to Florida in February 2016.
Along with his widow, Don is mourned by two sons, Kevin Byrne and his wife, Michelle, and Terry Byrne and his wife Betty, two daughters, Sue Hawes and her husband, Daniel, and Sally Gorham; his three stepchildren, Sue Texeira and her husband, Bill, Beth Doonan and Steve Doonan and his wife, Liza; 14 grandchildren, Shannon, Jason, Ashleigh, Danielle, Eric and Amelia and Alexandra, Colby, Madeline, Conor, Adriana, Shea, Gia, and Maya, and one great-granddaughter, Ava.
A private graveside service at Mosswood Cemetery, Cotuit, MA., will take place at a future date. In lieu of flowers, please consider a donation in Don’s memory to the Cape Cod Museum of Natural History, 869 Main St., Brewster, MA 02631. Also, see Don’s FindAGrave.com Memorial # 176687917.