Former council woman passes

Published 1:28 am Wednesday, April 26, 2006

By By Janet Little Cooper
Loraine Byrd came to Atmore as a child in 1944, making an impression on a city that will never forget her many contributions to the senior citizens and children of the community.
Byrd passed away Sunday, April 23 at a local hospital. A celebration of her life was held Monday at Petty Eastside Chapel Funeral Home followed by graveside services Tuesday at Robinsonville Cemetery.
From the seat of a school bus to the stands of Little League baseball, Byrd was well known for her desire to help the youth in the area.
Byrd drove a school bus for Escambia County for 27 years before retiring.
"Loraine was the boss," BOE Transportation Director Larry Davis said. "She took care of business and the kids who rode her bus respected her unlike some do today. They all loved her. She called them her own and she was somebody they all looked up to."
According to those who knew her best to say she was an avid sports fan would be an understatement. The name Loraine Byrd and Roll Tide went together like peanut butter and jelly. She was a regular at Alabama football games and brought her love for sports back home to the parks of Atmore supporting the Babe Ruth and Little League organizations in any way she could.
"Roll Tide," Larry Davis said. "She was a fan. She loved watching Alabama football. I will never forget when she dressed up like a cougar for an Escambia Academy playoff game held in the Super Dome in New Orleans. The referee called a '15 yard penalty on the lady dressed in the cougar suit' because she was yelling so loud at him."
Byrd's enthusiastic spirit was not confined to just sports and children, she also had a flair for politics. She served on the Atmore City Council for two terms from 1980 to 1988.
"Two things that I remember the most about Loraine were her strong devotion and dedication to the seniors at the SAIL center and her contributions to the city youth programs," Mayor Howard Shell said. "She played a big part in getting the SAIL center up and going and she felt that the city needed to provide any and all support and help to the youth in our town. She was a wonderful person who always had a smile and a good sense of humor."
Former city councilman and a neighbor of Byrd, John Garrard, will cherish the memory of her out-going spirit and drive for ambition.
"She was such fun," Garrard said. "Anything regarding the youth and seniors of our community she was vitally interested in."
Up until a year ago, Byrd worked everyday at the Atmore SAIL center. She volunteered her time and talents there for more than 12 years after retiring.
"She volunteered here everyday," SAIL center director Charlotte Purvis said. "She answered the phones for us and manned the desk giving us a break. Mrs. Byrd was our mouthpiece. She was so witty and fun making her one of the main voices here at the center. This center was her life. She even had her own parking place here. We have missed her greatly over the past year due to her health, but the mood is really depressing now that she is gone."

Sign up for our daily email newsletter

Get the latest news sent to your inbox