Nancy A. Byrd
On Monday, September 3, 2012, Nancy Ann Byrd passed away at Alpine Way Retirement Center. She was 72. Nancy was born on January 19, 1940 in Miami, Florida to Hugh Ridings and Martha (Heal Ridings) Hughes. She lived in the Florida Keys until about the age of four.
When Nancy was a pre-teen, her mother married Harold Hughes, and he formally adopted her. The family lived in the Anaheim, California. She graduated from Anaheim High School and married her life-long love, Richard L. Byrd, in 1956. They were both 16 years old.
The couple purchased their first Weimaraner when they were 20 years old. They showed her in confirmation dog shows as a hobby. This hobby launched her into a lifelong career as a dog breeder, handler, trainer and eventually dog judge. She judged local shows and prestigious events in the United States and was invited to judge all over the world.
Nancy claimed she never “had a job in her life.” What she meant was that no one ever issued her a paycheck, Nancy was self-employed. The dog business demanded all kinds of skills. She knew how to mix cement and stretch chain link to build kennels. Nancy managed a commercial boarding kennel at home, while travelling across the country showing dogs. She raised three kids, a bazillion pups and a half dozen teen apprentices. Nancy kept books, managed a complex travel schedule, kept clients on track with the paperwork, laid out ad campaigns and kept everyone in our neighborhood registered to vote. Nancy was an expert at animal nutrition and conditioning, and a talented groomer.
Over the years, Nancy was a member of various dog clubs and associations. She was a founding board member of the Shoreline Dog Fanciers Association in California. Most recently Nancy belonged to the Gig Harbor Kennel Club which hosts its annual show in Shelton. She also enjoyed gardening, cooking and entertaining. Nancy was a great player of the board game Upwards, and an avid western movie fan. Spending time with her family was most important to her, and she cherished her three Chihuahuas, “Dani”, “Dida” and “Bunny”.
She is survived by her husband Richard, Shelton; daughters, Janis Byrd (Denis Leverich) and Vicki Willard (Steven) of New Zealand; grandchildren, Laura Lewis (Paul), Shelton, Nathan Willard (Brittney) Ft. Rucker, AL. Patrick Hunter (Cherie), Seattle; Rachel Barnett (Andrew) Ft. Drum, NY, Brenda King (Brian) Forks, WA and seven great grandchildren.
A private gathering of family and friends will be held at a later date. In lieu flowers, dog fanciers may make a donation to any dog club of the donor’s choice. If donors would prefer, donations would also be appreciated to the Mason General Hospital Foundation, as her daughter and son-in-law have been long-time volunteers for that community resource.
Nancy is preceded in death by her parents and son, Richard Scott Byrd. McComb Funeral Home was honored to serve this family.