Kathleen Marie Byrne, a 64-year resident of Pacific Palisades, passed away on May 25 at the age of 93.
Born in New York City on May 31, 1927, Kathleen was the youngest of seven siblings, and her parents Rose and James were both first-generation Irish immigrants. She was predeceased by her husband Francis Sean Byrne.
Everyone who met Kathleen was inspired by her wry sense of humor, remarkable memory and story-telling ability, resilience, generosity, and, most of all, a selfless devotion to her family. She was always there to impart wise advice. Kathleen never forgot a birthday and her cards always included loving thoughts of encouragement. Her faith sustained her.
Kathleen graduated with honors from Hunter College in New York and soon after embarked on a West Coast adventure, moving to San Francisco. After relocating to Los Angeles, she met her husband Sean on a blind date and married in 1954. He charmed her with his fire red MG convertible that would soon be replaced by Kathleen’s signature Nash yellow rambler station wagon.
She took a job with the Carnation Company as an executive assistant while going to night school to earn her master’s of education. Weekly, Sean and Kathleen would drive to the beach from Hollywood and eventually fulfilled their dream of moving to the Palisades. They were very devoted to each other and shared a zest for life.
Kathleen was thrilled to land her first teaching job at Marquez Elementary and retired 30 years later at Palisades Elementary. Beloved by her students, many still say she was their favorite teacher.
A voracious reader and incredible writer, it wasn’t uncommon for Kathleen to have three mysteries on her bedside table. During a nine-month sabbatical, Kathleen and her family traveled throughout Europe and lived in Ireland. The book “Europe on Five Dollars a Day” was her go-to. It was the family adventure of a lifetime.
Kathleen and Sean were avid Irish Setter enthusiasts, frequenting dog shows and field trials, and winning numerous championships. She served on the board of the Kennel Club of Beverly Hills and as an officer with the Irish Setter Club of Southern California.
Later in life she mastered her Apple iPad and would order everything online, also sharing house maintenance and health tips she found there. She loved California sunsets, mountains, Christmas and the beach. She touched the lives of everyone who knew her and she will be deeply missed.
Kathleen is survived by her daughters Regan Byrne (husband Matthew Hamblen) of Harrisonburg, Virginia, and Stacie Byrne-Gibbs (husband Dana) of Redondo Beach, California; and her beloved grandchildren Morgan, Luke, Connor, Skylar and Paris.
A memorial mass will be held on July 8 at 11 a.m. at Corpus Christi Catholic Church in Pacific Palisades. A private burial will be held at Holy Cross Cemetery in Culver City.
In lieu of flowers, please consider donations to St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital, 262 Danny Thomas Place, Memphis, TN 38105 or stjude.org.
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