RALPH ERIC BYRD was born August 12, 1964 to the union of Shirley J. Wydman (Wideman) Davis and Ralph D. Byrd, both who preceded him in death. He departed this life unexpectedly at the tender age of 58 years young on Sunday, April 30, 2023 in Albuquerque, NM due to natural causes. Affectionately known simply as ‘Byrd’ , ‘Big Byrd’ or ‘Byrdman’ to most everyone, he had an easy-going nature and loved the simple things in life.
Ralph was born and raised in Detroit, MI along with his siblings, older sisters Geraldyne A. ‘Jeri’ Wydman Fuller and Sherrye J. Byrd Davis; and older brother Terry Richardson. He was often called ‘Ralphie’ or ‘Baby Bro’ by his siblings. He attended Detroit Public Schools and received his high school diploma from Henry Ford High School, Class of 1982. His former marriage to Deidra F. Hearn Byrd produced his only child, a son, Christopher Eric Byrd who he loved and made him proud to be his Dad.
Ralph joined the United States Army in September, 1983 and became a proud paratrooper in the elite and historically prestigious 82nd Airborne Division stationed at Fort Bragg, North Carolina. He lived most of his life in Detroit, MI having only moved to Albuquerque, NM near his sister Jeri, in December, 2020 for a fresh start in a new environment.
Memories of Ralph include Sunday church service with his then wife, in-laws and son at New Whitestone Missionary Baptist Church in Detroit (Fenkell and Littlefield), spending time with his family including home visits to check on his Mom, Dad and siblings, working hard at his jobs, relaxing at outdoor parks, hosting backyard barbeques, chatting with nearby neighbors, attending hydroplane races, taking his son to monster truck events, Detroit Pistons basketball and Detroit Lions football games, frequenting music concerts, outings with his family, eating out at new restaurants, dressing up and going out with friends, and his love of Bruce Lee movies. He also loved to visit the casinos where he often won, and he enjoyed drinking Pepsi, and beer.
Ralph leaves to mourn his passing and cherish his memory, his son Chris; sisters Jeri and Sherrye; brother Terry (Linda); nieces - Nikkela (Andre), Delia (Tim), TaLisa (Kamal), Tanisha (Moe), and Tiffany (Keon); nephews - Loren (Cathy), Aaron, Morgan, Terrell, Terry II (Toyia) and Keviyan; 8 great nieces, 16 great nephews, 2 great-great nieces; a maternal aunt in Detroit, MI; two maternal uncles in Greenville, SC; a host of Byrd family cousins in Detroit, MI and Wideman family cousins in Greenville, SC; and Linda and Richard O’Banion, his bonus Mom and Dad who held a special place in his heart and life.
The final step in honoring Ralph’s life and saying farewell will be his Inurnment Ceremony which will take place on June 6, 2023 at the Veterans Great Lakes National Memorial Cemetery in Holly, MI with full military honor detail including the playing of Taps and the folding and presentation of the American flag to his son.
In my Father’s house are many mansions: if it were not so, I would have told you. I go to prepare a place for you