Minnie Byrnes (née Wilson), age 93, passed away peacefully on December 13, 2020 in Somerset, New Jersey. Minnie was born January 15, 1927, in Kingston-upon-Hull, England, the first child of the late Thomas and May (Rainforth) Wilson.
Minnie was preceded in death by her husband, Thomas Byrnes; one son, John; and two brothers, Arthur and Thomas Wilson. She is survived by four children, Keith (Teresa) Wilson, Tom (Cathy) Byrnes, Kathy (Nick) Ferri, and Linda Byrnes (Paulie Swiderski); one sister, Muriel Warner; 10 grandchildren, 9 great grandchildren, and many extended family members and friends.
Minnie was strong; after serving her country during World War II, she worked for several years in a department store before moving to the United States in 1960 with her son Keith. There, she met and married the love of her life, Tom Byrnes. They settled in Sayreville, New Jersey, where she was a beloved mother and homemaker. Together, Minnie and Tom enjoyed spending time with their children, dancing, trips to Cape Cod, and making dandelion wine with their grandchildren. Mickey was a lover of music, quick to sing along and share her favorites over a cup of tea and Frank Sinatra. During family weddings, she was often found on the dance floor, cutting a rug to all sorts of tunes. Always up to date on current events, Minnie was also an avid reader and history buff. She enjoyed movies and conversation. She was a friend and companion to her grandchildren, singing to them, playing cards, making meals, sharing treats and stories.
While her family did not get to share these last few months with her because of the pandemic, Minnie was cared for and loved by the healthcare team at her nursing home. They appreciated her sweet disposition and loving attitude even in the face of adversity.
Minnie had a kind, thoughtful spirit. She truly listened, and family members knew they could depend on her at a moment’s notice. She finished her life as she started: with grit and grace, capped with a warm smile, maintaining a clever sense of humor and an interest in the world and her family until the end. If you were lucky enough to to be called “Pet Lamb” by Mickey, you were lucky enough.
In lieu of flowers, donations may be sent to Disabled American Veterans.
From the poem High Flight:
Up, up, the long delirious burning blue
I’ve topped the wind-swept heights with easy grace.
Where never lark or even eagle flew -
And while, with silent, lifting mind I’ve trod
The high untrespassed sanctity of space,
Put out my hand and touched the face of God.
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