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Helen Elaine Byrd


Last updated 1/27/2021 at 3:39pm

Helen Elaine Byrd

We celebrate a life full of family and love as we mark the passing of Helen Elaine Byrd. Elaine passed away peacefully Jan. 5, 2021 surrounded by her loving family.

She was born May 30, 1931 to Helen Girvin and George Gorwyn Engle and was raised in Denver, Colorado. In the fall of 1951, she met Lee Byrd on a blind date arranged by her sister. The pair were married three months later in a beautiful December wedding and began a loving and adventurous journey together.

Lee's military and civilian careers took Elaine from Colorado to Oklahoma, Ohio, Massachusetts, Illinois, California and Virginia, ultimately settling in Rancho Palos Verdes, California and Fallbrook, California.

Over the years, Elaine built a life rich with love and tradition centered around her husband and five children. She ran her household with an efficiency that rivaled Lee's military, never missing a dentist appointment or back-to-school night, and maintaining a freezer packed with homemade spaghetti sauce and chocolate chip cookies.

Moving her family every few years had its challenges, but she managed to make every new house feel like a forever home for her children. Elaine treasured her full-time job as "mom" and "nana" and cherished every new addition to her family as it grew to include 14 grandchildren and three great-grandchildren.

Elaine shared her many talents with her community. Her capacity to care for others, along with her creativity in the kitchen and with a sewing machine, were on display as she volunteered to lead military wives' clubs, PTAs and civic organizations in all of the communities that she and Lee called "home" over the years.

Hosting her family and friends brought Elaine great joy. Whether for a weekend, a dinner, or just a glass of wine, she treated her guests to a warm and welcome space, full of love and humor.

Elaine was preceded in death by her devoted husband of 67 years, Lee Byrd, and by her sisters Constance Riepe, Charlene Mitchell and Marlene Poletti. She is survived by her loving children, Gary Byrd (Aileen), Susan Pfingst (Craig McCurdy), Leslie Saeta (Dave), Rick Byrd (Shellie) and Jeni Reedy (Tom); 14 grandchildren and three great-grandchildren.

The family will celebrate the life and character of Elaine when they are able to safely gather. They would like to thank the very special caregivers at The Kensington Sierra Madre for the love and tenderness they showed Elaine during her last two years in memory care.

In lieu of flowers, please consider a donation in Elaine's name to the Cure Alzheimer's Fund at


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