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George William Byron, age 87, of Byron Township died on June 3, 2011, at Immanuel St Joseph’s Hospital in Mankato.

Mass of Christian Burial will be held at 10:30 a.m. on Tuesday, June 7, at All Saints Catholic Church in New Richland with Father Swaminatha Pothireddy, Celebrant.  Interment will be in the Calvary Cemetery in New Richland.

Visitation will be held on Monday, June 6, from 4 pm to 8 p.m. at McRaith Funeral Home in Waseca, and will continue on Tuesday morning for one hour prior to services at the church.

George was born April 14, 1924, to Mary Elmira (Conway) and William E. Byron in Waseca. He was brought up on the 1856 Byron homestead farm in St. Mary’s Township, Waseca County, Minnesota. George attended the Gallagher Country School and graduated from Sacred Heart High School in Waseca. He began farming, and during WWII his assignment was to stay home and produce food.  On August 24, 1948, he was united in marriage to Mary Jane Munsch at St. Mary’s Catholic Church in St. Mary’s Township, Waseca County. The Byrons farmed and raised their family of seven children in Byron Township, Waseca County, near New Richland.

Being a frontiersman and pioneer was passed on to George.  He was an early adopter of agricultural technologies, an innovator of new cropping systems and a certified soybean seed grower for many years.  He was a devoted member of All Saints Catholic Church and served as a trustee for many years. His leadership extended to the greater farming community in his role for years as director of the New Richland Coop. He was elected as a director of the Steele-Waseca Cooperative Electric and served for 21 years.  During his earlier years, he enjoyed bowling, playing cards and the occasional ice fishing trip to the northern Minnesota lakes.  As he approached traditional retirement age (not that he ever fully retired), he took up swimming at the Y, walking and was an avid bicyclist.

He is survived by his seven children: Jane (Joe) Scheidnes of Roseville; Mary Pat (Ed) Zabinski of Grand Rapids, MN; Dennis (Wendy) Byron of Des Moines, IA; George P. Byron (Bob Menchini) of Sausalito, CA; Bruce W. Byron of Golden Valley; Raymond Byron of New York, NY; and Colleen Byron (Gary Rodman) of Ripon, WI; his siblings, Mary Marple of New Hope, James (Rita) Byron, Paul (Mayone) Byron, Helen Curran, all of Waseca, and Sister Colleen Byron, OSF, Rochester; by his sister-in-law Delores Flintrop of Waseca; by 13 grandchildren and 6 great-grandchildren

He is preceded in death by his wife of 59 years, Mary Jane, his parents, his brother William (Mary Ann) Byron, and brother-in-law Raymond Curran.  

George was a lifelong learner. He was always open to new ideas and new ways of doing things, and his enthusiasm for seeing new sights and trying new things were hallmarks of his life.  This openness extended to people he knew and met.  In his 80s he could be found talking to the younger farmers about the latest on-board planting computers, learning French, surfing the internet, and reading on his e-book.  George was a knowledgeable farmer and an astute businessman.  George’s sayings and abundant humor were legendary among his family.  We know that his generosity, spirit and compassion have been passed on to at least the next three generations. 

Memorials in George’s honor can be made to the New Richland Care Center or to any charity of the donor’s choosing. 

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