Farmer and commission chairman Earl Byrd dies

Former County Commission Chairman Earl Byrd was born in St Johns County on September 17, 1913; he died here this morning, two months shy of his 99th birthday, according to a report from his daughter, Kathy Strickland.

W. E. Byrd lived on Flagler Estates Boulevard in Hastings with his wife, Lois.

On February 28, 2011, Historic City News editor Michael Gold met with Byrd during a special recognition ceremony held in his honor before the county commission where he served terms totaling 28 years.

Byrd served as County Commissioner from 1946 to 1978 and, at that time, was considered the oldest living St. Johns County Commissioner and County Official.

Former St Johns County commissioners Herbie Wiles, Ed Cooksey, Fred Green and several friends and others who worked and served with Byrd, his daughter and one of Byrd’s nephews made it possible for the failing commissioner to attend the ceremony.

Struggling with mobility and speech limitations, the former commissioner told Historic City News, “This recognition is a wonderful gesture.”

Byrd was a grandfather of two, a great-grandfather to seven, and, last year became a great-great-grandfather.

During his career he was a prominent farmer in Elkton and Hastings, Commissioner Byrd was inducted into the Agricultural Hall of Fame in 1989 as well as the Florida 4-H Hall of Fame in 2002.

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