Robert Gray Byrd

April 7, 2010 

Robert G. (Bob) Byrd, native of Selma, and long time Chapel Hill resident, died April 5, 2010 after a courageous battle with cancer. Byrd graduated from UNC in 1953 Phi Beta Kappa, and at the top of his class from the UNC School of Law in 1956, where he served as Editor-In-Chief of the Law Review.

After graduation, Byrd was in the Judge Advocate General Corps of the US Army from 1956-1960, where he tried and defended felony-level cases. He served almost 30 years in a selective service unit of the NC National Guard and was commander of his unit during that period of time. Byrd became Assistant Director of the Institute of Government in 1960, and began teaching at the UNC School of Law in 1963. He served as acting Dean in 1966 and was appointed Dean in 1974. After his five year tenure as Dean he continued to teach torts, remedies and evidence until his retirement. He relished teaching and his students, and was the author and co-author of numerous publications.

Byrd was recognized for his numerous career achievements with many awards including the Frederick McCall Award for teaching in 1968, and was named Burton Craige Professor of Law in 1979. He was honored by Law Alumni with a Lifetime Achievement Award in 1995. Byrd was a member of the American Bar Association and was Vice President of the Bar from 1992-93, and also served as a chair. Byrd was awarded the Order of the Long Leaf Pine by Governor Hunt in 1981 and again by Governor Easley in 2002.

Robert was proceeded in death by his wife of 50 years, Patricia Ricks Byrd, also of Selma. He is survived by three daughters- Susan Wood and husband Chris, Bobbie Kicklighter and husband Frank, and Beth Williams and husband Brad, as well as five grandchildren- Caroline, Patrick, Graham, Colin and Cameron. Robert is also survived by a brother, Sam, of Smithfield.

Visitation will be held at Walker's Funeral Home in Chapel Hill Thursday, April 8th from 6-8. A celebration of his life will be on Friday April 9th at 11 o'clock at Binkley Baptist Church. In lieu of flowers, donations may be made in Robert's name to the American Cancer Society.

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