In Memoriam: Robert Wayne Byrd, February 11, 1947 - May 29, 2023
Posted On June 2, 2023
Robert Wayne Byrd of Pawleys Island, South Carolina passed away on May 29, 2023 surrounded by his loving and devoted family at precisely 5 o’clock in the afternoon -- his favorite time of the day on one of his favorite days of the year (Memorial Day). A beloved husband, father and Pop, Wayne joined his heavenly family and friends after a vigorously-fought battle with a brief illness.
Wayne was born February 11, 1947, in Charleston, South Carolina, the first-born child of Robert Newton Byrd and Wilma Gwendolyn Byrd. As the oldest of five children, he was the family’s anchor and always made sure his siblings felt special, included and loved. Wayne’s drive to succeed and tireless work ethic was unmatched. As a young boy and man, he excelled on the football field at McClenaghan High School in Florence, South Carolina, and later as a 4-year starting offensive lineman at the University of Georgia, where he played for Vince Dooley and helped the Bulldogs secure two visits to the SEC championship, bringing home the SEC title in 1968. Exerting the same effort academically, Wayne graduated Magna Cum Laude from UGA with a Bachelor’s degree in Business Personnel Management in 1969. After obtaining a Masters of Accountancy degree from UGA in 1972, Wayne attended law school at the University of South Carolina, where he graduated with honors in 1975. While working on his post-graduate degrees, Wayne served as an officer in the United States Army Reserves after going through basic training and serving as a platoon leader at Fort Polk in Louisiana. He loved his country and was proud for the opportunity to serve.
Throughout his almost 50-year legal career, Wayne was served exceptionally well by the same work ethic and competitive drive that led him to succeed on the football field and academically. Upon graduating from law school, Wayne managed an active transactional and tax planning law practice in Greenville, South Carolina. In 1988, he returned to his hometown of Florence and joined the law firm of Turner Padget Graham and Laney, P.A. where he focused his practice on complex business litigation. During his thirty-five years with Turner Padget, Wayne held numerous leadership roles, culminating in his service as Chief Executive Officer from 2015-2018. Eventually, in 2005, Wayne and his wife, Georganne, relocated to their treasured home in North Litchfield Beach, and he founded the law firm’s Myrtle Beach office. While a ferocious advocate in the courtroom, Wane will be remembered for his tremendous professionalism and respect for the judicial system – a true lawyer of the “old school”. He received numerous awards for his work as a litigator and served the legal profession extensively through his leadership in the American Bar Association Section of Litigation as a member of the Trial Attorney Advisory Board, a Member of Council, a Director of three different Divisions, a Chair of the Business Torts Committee and Managing Director. In recognition of his hard work and success on the football field, as well as his life-long, post-graduate professional accomplishments, Wayne was inducted into the National Football Hall of Fame, University of Georgia Chapter, in 2016 -- a distinguished honor reserved for those who have excelled in their chosen professions.
Although Wayne was a revered (and often feared) attorney in the courtroom, his heart belonged at home with his family. On May 30, 1992, he married Georganne (Baroody) with whom he shared a wonderful life of 31 years that were filled with good wine and fine dining, extensive travel and plenty of laughter. As a self-trained gourmet chef, Wayne loved preparing amazing meals for the family and friends that regularly filled their home. He was the proud father of four children, Nikole Mariencheck (Bobby), Rod Byrd, Christopher Byrd (Audra), and Wallace Mullinax (Kristen). He was a loving Pop to seven grandchildren, Caid Byrd, Parker Mariencheck, Victoria Byrd, Hannah Grace Mariencheck, Kinley Byrd, Gray Mariencheck and Aiken Mullinax. Wayne was preceded in death by his parents, Robert and Wilma Byrd. He was blessed with four siblings, Greg Byrd, Timmy Byrd, Terry Byrd Amaral, and Larry Byrd, and several nieces and nephews. After marrying Georganne, he gained another brother, Murray Baroody (Marley), and four cherished nieces and nephews. Wayne will be forever missed and remembered for his generosity, kindness and compassion, and his family will strive to continue his legacy of strength, integrity and service to others. After hearing the news, his friends’ outpouring of love was in abundance: special, gracious, generous, true gentleman, outstanding lawyer, warm, and caring were just some of the words used in an attempt to capture his whole being.