Silver Taps: Stephen Patrick Byrne
Doctoral student taught at his alma mater
Published: Tuesday, March 5, 2013
Updated: Tuesday, March 5, 2013 02:03
Stephen Patrick Byrne was a man known by his friends and family as a great teacher, a good man, a loving father and husband and — from his time as an undergraduate in the 1970s or his stint as a senior construction science lecturer — an Aggie.
“He was very committed to A&M,” said his wife, Penny Byrne. “When the opening came for him to teach at his alma mater, he jumped on it.”
Before pursuing his doctorate at A&M, Stephen received a bachelor’s degree in construction science in 1975. He then went on to receive his Masters degree in 1977. Stephen, whose father also went to A&M, knew he would be an Aggie from a young age.
“He can remember hearing the Aggie War Hymn as early as three years old,” Penny said. “When it was time for him to start thinking about college he knew there was only one place he would come, and that was A&M.”
Stephen was always a sports fanatic. Not only as an athlete in his younger years playing for his high school’s football and swim teams, but also as a proud supporter of Aggie football and baseball.
“He was a big-time Aggie,” professor of construction sciences Jim Smith said. “He was always involved with student tickets from football to baseball with the sports program at A&M.”
Stephen graduated from Roosevelt High School in San Antonio, where, at the age of 16, he met his wife of 41 years. For a time, Stephen lived in Austin with his family while running his own construction company until the opportunity to work at A&M opened. Stephen was also a well-known family man who served as a deacon and usher at his Baptist church.
For Paul Byrne, Stephen’s son, fond memories of his father go back to early boyhood days on Kyle Field.
“I remember as a kid going to the same seats that he had now on the second deck,” Paul said. “He was a baseball ticket holder as well and also enjoyed going to his grandson’s games.”
Paul, Class of 2002, majored in construction science at A&M, following in his father’s footsteps. Stephen taught his son’s senior-level construction science class during his tenure at A&M.
“There were none of my friends who could say they experienced that,” Paul said. “He had even arranged with the president of the University so he could hand me my diploma.”
Stephen was described by friends as someone people could call upon if they ever needed anything. He was a man who was more than ready to give a helping hand.
“He was just a good man,” Paul said. “He had great character. For me, he was the best dad any boy could imagine.”
Stephen Patrick Byrne will be honored at Silver Taps at 10:30 p.m. Tuesday in Academic Plaza.