In Memoriam: Elsie Leona (Coke) Byrd

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Elsie Byrd

On Friday, April 22, 2022, Elsie Leona (Coke) Byrd peacefully passed away in her home in Sacramento, Calif. at the age of 99. She is now reunited with her loving husband, James Robin Byrd, who died in 2000, and their two daughters, Mary Lynn Byrd and Susan Robin Reaney Holt.

Elsie leaves behind three children: Elaine Wheeler of Hinton, Oklahoma; Carole Adams (husband Fred) of Sacramento, Calif.; Jim Byrd (wife Peisha) of Spring, Texas. She was a loving wife, mother of five, grandmother of 12, great-grandmother of 26, great-great-grandmother of 16, and aunt and friend to many. Elsie had a special bond with her only surviving sister-in-law, Lorene Herring, and enjoyed their calls and visits.

Elsie was born Jan. 16, 1923, on a homestead near Gould, Okla. She resided in the Sacramento area for 51 years. She was the daughter of Agatha (Briggs) Coke and Markus Delayfette Coke and sister to Edna, George, Viola, Bilbo, Maedell, Troy and Winona Lee, who all preceded her in death.

Elsie married her high school sweetheart, James Robin Byrd, on Nov. 3, 1941, in Wichita, Kan. There she was proud to be a “Rosie The Riveter,” helping build B-29 bombers at Boeing while Robin was away during World War II serving in the US Army Aircorp.

Elsie was an advocate for education and was an elementary school teacher for over 35 years in Oklahoma and California. She so enjoyed teaching that, after retirement, she substituted at Elverta School up until the age of 81. Her teaching never stopped though, as she read books and played educational games with her great grandchildren whenever she had the chance.

Elsie earned her Masters in Education from Oklahoma State University, held a certification as a Reading Specialist, and was very proud of the number of lives she impacted by giving them a solid educational start. She was also proud that one daughter, three granddaughters and two great granddaughters are teachers.

Elsie had many talents as well. She was a seamstress, making most of her family’s clothes for years. She often made matching or coordinating outfits for the children of the family and she completed several other beautiful sewing projects, including two wedding dresses.

Elsie also loved painting. She painted something special for many people who cherish her beautiful artwork. Her latest paintings were completed within the last few weeks. She was an excellent cook and famous for her peanut brittle. Another source of happiness for Elsie was bargain hunting at local thrift stores, and she was very proud of the deals and treasures she would find.

Elsie was a member of the Rebekah Lodge, where she previously served as Noble Grand and continued to attend events with the Rebekahs as often as possible. She was also a member of The Red Hat Society and enjoyed many outings in the company of her friends. She enjoyed games very much, especially 42 (dominoes), checkers, Mexican Train, Mahjong — which she played with her friends regularly up to the week prior to her death.

Viewing will be 3-6 p.m. on May 3, 2022 at Sunset Lawn Chapel of the Chimes, 4701 Marysville Boulevard in Sacramento. The funeral service will be held at 10 a.m. on May 4 at Sunset Lawn with reception to follow at Swallows Nest Country Club, 2245 Orchard Lane in Sacramento. Memorial donations can be made on Elsie’s behalf to the American Heart Association.

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