REDFIELD — Frances Hardin Byrd was born on Dec. 21, 1926 near Conway to Marley Alfred and Susan Muriel Hardin. She moved to Redfield when she was six years old. The youngest of seven children, she grew up at the end of River Road on her father’s farm. After graduation from Redfield Senior High School, where she was an avid basketball player and champion free throw shooter, she went to Conway to Teacher’s College (now UCA). There she met her husband, Conley F. Byrd Sr. However, it was not until both transferred to the University of Arkansas at Fayetteville, that they began to date and were subsequently married. She graduated with a B.S.E. degree. She taught in the Sidney Schools until they moved temporarily out of state to Ohio. Conley and “Shorty Frances”were soon home sick for Arkansas and they moved back, never to move away again. She worked for a short time as a chemist at the Pine Bluff Arsenal while Conley Sr. practiced law in Pine Bluff. From there, they moved to North Little Rock where Conley Sr. began working as the Court Reporter for the Arkansas State Supreme Court. When they discovered that he had tuberculosis, he had to leave his wife and two small children to go to the Booneville TB Sanitarium. The judges on the Court allowed Frances, with some assistance, to hold down Conley’s job until he could return to work. With God’s providence, Conley Sr. survived lung surgery, was one of the first patients to receive the new wonder drug, streptomycin, and was one of the first outpatients ever for TB. Frances had to give him the drugs at home for several years.
During the next few years, Frances taught at Badgett Elementary School in Little Rock, Sherwood Schools, and Cloverdale Elementary in Little Rock. She also ran Conley Sr.’s successful campaign for Position 4 on the Arkansas Supreme Court.
After his election, they bought a farm with her sister Willie Mae Murdock in Redfield. There, she had an organic garden and raised calves, pigs, chickens and ducks. After she retired from farming, she became the editor of the monthly Redfield Update newspaper for 10 years.
She loved having people visit. She has fed multitudes at her kitchen table, often with no notice. She loved her children and grandchildren dearly, as well as her very large extended family. There was nothing she loved more than a family reunion!
Mrs. Byrd died on Wednesday, August 22, 2012 at Baptist Health Medical Center in Little Rock at the age of 85.
She is predeceased by her parents, brothers Charles Mencer and Marley Alfred (Buddy) Hardin Jr., and her sisters Nola Anderson and Willie Mae Murdock.
She is survived by her husband of 62 years the former Justice Conley F. Byrd Sr., and her sisters Juanita Whitaker of Rolla, Missouri and Betty Jo Pagan of Little Rock
By her children: Conley F (Susan) Byrd Jr. of Redfield, Susan (Leon) Holmes of Little Rock, Paul (Jane) Byrd of Little Rock, Margaret (David) Dobson of Sheridan; And Honorary children: Linda (Cliff) Eason of St. Louis, Mo., Peggy (Skip) Hearne of Little Rock, Thomas “Tom Tom” Hughes and Debbie Hughes, of Redfield; By her Grandchildren: Tye Herring, Kelley (Wesley) Emeneker, CB Byrd, Christin Byrd, Josh (Phoebe) Holmes, Jeremy (Jacinta) Holmes, Sarah Holmes, Hannah (Tomas) Voboril, J. Frank Holmes, Kate (Todd) Pantier, Maryann (Chase) Furrier, Whitley (Ben) Cates, Thomas Byrd, John Michael Byrd, Nathan Dobson, Nick Dobson, Shayne Paul Dobson; And Honorary Grandchildren: Jessica (Brian) Clifton, Megan Hughes, Josi (Randy) Bogdon, and Lin (Mike) Harris; and by 15 great-grandchildren and a host of other beloved family and friends.
The family would like to extend a special thanks to Dr. Robert Searcy and Dr. David Bauman for their excellent care of our wife mother over the years.
Memorials may be made to a favorite charity of your choice.
Pallbearers are: Larry David Garner, John Clark, Mike Moore, James Ray, Linda Eason and Peggy Hearne.
Honorary pallbearers are: Thomas “Tom Tom” Hughes and Alfred Kimbrell
Visitation will be from 6-8 p.m. Friday evening at the Sheridan Church of Christ, located at 901 N. Main St., Sheridan. The funeral service will be at 10 a.m. at the Sheridan Church of Christ on Saturday, with burial following in the Redfield Cemetery in Redfield, AR.
Arrangements by Memorial Gardens Funeral Home of Sheridan (870)942-1306. To sign the online guestbook, www.memorialgardenssheridan.com.