Marybeth “Cissie” Rudden Byrne passed away peacefully in her sleep on Monday, July 23, after a long battle with Lewy Body Disease. She was an amazing person who touched many lives. She loved God, her children and grandchildren, her husband, her friends and family and going to garage sales (not necessarily in that order). She was born in Auchnacliffe, Longford, Ireland. Although she spent more than 60 years in the states, she never learned to pronounce the “H” in the word “three.”
Marybeth immigrated to the United States at the age of 23, spent a few years in the convent on both sides of the ocean and later met and married Frank Byrne in 1963. They raised four children together in Salinas, Calif., and started the Corpus Christi Bookstore out of an act of love for their community and God.
Marybeth was the type of person who never saw a dead plant that she believed that could not be revived; who volunteered countless hours at homeless shelters and elsewhere; and always reached out with love and without judgement to people in need. She created the home where all the kids’ friends wanted to hang out, made copious amounts of Irish soda bread, and always remembered who wanted the loaves without raisins. She was the type of mom who would take out her dentures and make funny faces just to make the kids laugh. She believed in miracles.
Later in life, Marybeth and Frank moved to Alameda to be closer to grandchildren, where they continued to volunteer and help out whoever needed it. Contrary to popular belief she was not a saint, but she took delight and was genuinely interested in other people, which may have led to mistaken beliefs about her saintliness. Although her last few years were marked by changes in her brain brought about by her disease, she continued to delight in getting to know others and we hear she was a wiz at laughing yoga.
Marybeth is survived by her husband of 55 years, her four children and their spouses, Jim (Sandra), Maureen (Swarup), Patrick (Susan), and Francine (Charlie), 11 grandchildren, her brother, and numerous nieces, nephews and cousins.
Services will be held at Sacred Heart Church in Salinas on Friday, Aug. 24, at 10 a.m. and at Mercy Retirement & Care Center in Oakland on Saturday, Nov. 3, at 2 p.m. In lieu of flowers, donations may be sent to Mercy Retirement and Care Center at www.eldercarealliance.org/get-started-now/ways-to-give.
For more information call Harry W. Greer, funeral director (FDR-745)