Mildred Stevens Byrne, of Chestertown, died May 30, 2020 at Resorts at Chester River Manor nursing home of lung complications due to Corona Virus. She was 84.
Millie was born on June 8, 1935 in Oak Park, Illinois and spent her childhood in Illinois and Indiana. She had fond remembrances of Midwest traditions such as summer employment de-tasseling corn and bicycling to the train depot to watch the Burlington Zephyr go through. She attended Holy Cross School of Nursing in South Bend, Indiana and became a Registered Nurse (RN) in 1956 and married Edward (Ted) Byrne.
After a period as an Air Force wife in Ohio, she moved to New Jersey. She was quite active in the Boy Scout movement there for many years and was one of the first female recipients of the Silver Beaver award.
Following her husband’s employment, she moved to Maine, Illinois and back to New Jersey. A major interest in her life was preservation of the vocation of hand corn farming. She helped found the National Corn Husking Association (NCHA) which runs historic hand corn husking contests every autumn in most Midwest states, and she was a corn item collector and officer of the Corn Item Collectors Association (CICA). Several years ago, she donated her extensive collection of pre-WWII com farming tools to that organization so it could be re-enjoyed.
After her children moved on, she worked in the membership office of a YMCA in New Jersey. She joked that she knew everyone in town whose credit card bounced. In 2003 they moved to Chestertown, Maryland to get away from the 9/11 shadow of the World Trade Center and experienced a happy retirement there.
Her parents John and Margaret Stevens pre-deceased her. She is survived by her husband of 46 years and by three children, Tom Byrne of Lambertville, NJ with wife Janis, John Byrne of Fallston, MD with wife Jean, and Peggy Smigiel of Chesapeake City, MD with husband Michael. A fourth child, Steven, pre-deceased her in California in 2006. She has six grandchildren, Christopher, Joe, Mike, Sarah, Ryan and Lauryn, of whom she was very proud. She has a brother Thomas Stevens of Lebanon, Tennessee, with wife Patricia, and a sister Margaret Tierney in Columbus, Ohio.
She was proud of her ancestors who struggled to come to America from perennially war torn Poland. She was a firm believer in conducting a positive life and felt her reward was in a better world and the lives of her children. She will be remembered especially by the birds, squirrels, and dogs of the neighborhood.
Private funeral arrangements were made by Fellows, Helfenbein and Newman Funeral home of Chestertown, to whom on-line condolences can be sent. Donations may be made to the Alzheimer’s Disease Foundation. Due to the Corona Virus outbreak, a memorial service will be held at a later date.