WVU Mourns Passing of Erma Byrd

MORGANTOWN, W.Va. – Faculty, staff and students at West Virginia University were saddened to learn of the death of Erma Ora Byrd on Saturday. Mrs. Byrd, who married future Senator Robert C. Byrd in 1937, was a longtime friend of West Virginia University and visited the campus with her husband on numerous occasions. 

“Beneath whatever public image people have of Senator Byrd and his family, there is the very real bedrock value of love of family,” said WVU President David C. Hardesty. “Senator Byrd and Mrs. Byrd have loved each other, and the members of their family, deeply.  This clear and obvious commitment and loyalty has served as a role model for West Virginians throughout their years of marriage. All members of the West Virginia University community will miss Mrs. Byrd very much, and our sympathies are extended to Senator Byrd and those who have loved and cared for Mrs. Byrd.” 

Mrs. Byrd had a special interest in the University’s health programs.

“She was a woman whose warmth and energy strengthened not only her own family, but thousands of people across the state of West Virginia,” said Robert M. D’Alessandri, M.D., vice president for health sciences and leader of the Robert C. Byrd Health Sciences Center at WVU. “Those of us who were privileged to know her will miss her greatly. Our thoughts and prayers are with the Senator and his family at this hour.”

One of the Byrd family’s most tragic moments was the loss of their grandson in an automobile accident. WVU’s Jon Michael Moore Trauma Center, created with the Senator’s assistance, is named in his memory.  

“At this moment of sadness, we hope that it gives comfort to Mrs. Byrd’s family and friends that the work of the Jon Michael Moore Trauma Center will go on – a living memorial that has allowed WVU to bring hundreds of other families hope and life,” said Larry Roberts, M.D., trauma center director. “We are extraordinarily grateful to the Byrd family for their decades of support for this effort.”

- WVU -

For more information:
Bill Case, HSC News Service, (304) 293-7087
bc: 3-26-06

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