Francis Xavier Byrnes
14 March , 1920 – 29 May , 2019
Francis Xavier Byrnes, 99, of San Diego passed away peacefully on May 29, 2019 with 2 of his daughters and his goddaughter by his side. Francis’s extraordinary 99 year story began when he was born on March 14, 1920 in Honolulu, Hawaii to Eugene Joseph and Mary Cecelia Byrnes. After a year, they moved to California, eventually ending up in San Diego in 1934. An interesting note is that Francis got his driver’s license at age 14 because his father was in poor health. His father spent much of his time, for years, as a patient in the Naval Hospital in San Diego starting in 1928, which was the driving factor in their move to San Diego. Francis discovered a passion for singing in choir in 1934 when he joined the St. Joseph’s Choir with his mother. Over the next couple of years, during the San Diego Exposition, he was a member of the Junior Symphony, Junior Band and the 300-voice Exposition Chorus. During his years at Grossmont High School, Francis was very active in the music program, singing in several choral groups, playing his cello in the orchestra, and playing the sousaphone in the band. He also held a couple of school records in his class size as a hurdler and sprinter in track. Francis graduated from Grossmont High School in 1938, and then entered San Diego State University. He majored in Physics and minored in Mathematics and Chemistry. He kept up his music involvement throughout college, singing in the A Capella Choir, the men’s quartet and playing in the orchestra and the Pep Band. Francis was also active in the local chapter of Sigma Pi Sigma, the National physics honor society and Lambda Delta Lambda, the local Chemistry honor society. Having always been interest in airplanes, Francis was also accepted into a program in 1940 the U.S. Government called the Civilian Pilot Training Program. That eventually led to him being the proud owner of an airplane in 1945. Just prior to finishing his bachelor degree, Pearl Harbor was attacked. Francis joined the war effort four days later, on December 11, 1941. For the next four and a half years, he worked for the University of California Division of War Research Lab (which became Naval Electronics Laboratory “NEL”) in Point Loma as a physicist. After the war, he returned to SDSU to finish his studies and get his bachelor degree. Francis then enrolled at UCLA to work on his graduate degree. It was there that he met the love of his life, Martha “Marty” Hall and they married on June 28, 1947. They returned to San Diego, and Francis accepted a job offer to continue working for the government until his retirement in 1979. Most of those years were spent at what was later called Naval Ocean Systems Center (NOSC) in Point Loma, where he made significant contributions in the area of sonar and submarine technology. After “retirement”, Francis continued working for the next 15-20 years providing engineering and technical support for the Acoustics Research Center of NOSC via government contractors. As in his younger years, music continued to be such a huge blessing in his life. He enjoyed attending the symphony, the opera and many concerts with Marty. At the center of his love for music was his joy at being a chorister. He was an original member of the St. Brigid’s choir since its inception in 1941. He continued singing faithfully with the choir for over 75 years until 2017. Francis was a loving and devoted husband, and a beloved son, father, brother, uncle, grandfather and great grandfather. When he was still in high school, his late sister Maryann had captured his essence wonderfully, describing him as, “a scientist, musician, radio amateur, athlete, photographer and private pilot… the genius in the family!” Francis was preceded in death by his wife of 67 years, Marty, and his sisters Maryann and Esther. He is survived by his six children: Eileen Byrnes, Mary Jane Chleboun (Jim), Rosie Byrnes, Katie Byrnes, Joe Byrne (Betsy) and Patty Chase. 11 grandchildren: Paul, Bob, Sean, Franciska “Malia”, Julie, Joslyn, Andrea, Kealan, Ciara, Jessica, Conor, and 13 great-grandchildren: Oliver, Alexia, Reese, Austen, PJ, Matteo, Angelise, Meeya, Gage, Kyrie, Colin, Eliot and Noah. A special thank you to the staff at St. Paul’s Senior Care Center for their loving care and support during his final days. They went above and beyond to show compassion for both Francis and our family. They made us feel welcome and at home any time of day. In lieu of flowers, donations can be made to St. Paul’s Senior Services Foundation, 328 Maple Street, San Diego CA (www.stpaulseniors.org/donate/). Following a Rosary at 9:30am, a Funeral mass will be at 10:00 am on Saturday, June 29th, 2019 at St. Brigid Catholic Church, 4735 Cass Street, San Diego, CA 92109. A reception will follow in the St. Brigid Parish Hall.
- Rosary Service Saturday, 29 June , 2019
- Funeral Mass Saturday, 29 June , 2019