Eric Leewood Byrd was born the second child of Dr. Eugene D. Sr. and Mabel Leewood Byrd on May 18, 1947 in Baltimore, Md. Of the three children, he most exemplified the hospitality and sophistication of their mother and the single-minded commitment to the principles of truth and justice embodied by their father.
From a young age, Eric possessed a radiant and giving spirit. He was debonair and traveled the world. One of his greatest gifts was the ease with which he would engage in meaningful conversations with strangers as well as family and friends.
Eric was the consummate storyteller recalling experiences from his professional life and travels. A few weeks before he passed, he was engaging hospital staff members with his many stories explaining that this time of year he would be traveling in warmer climates.
Eric was the product of the Baltimore City School System with much of his primary education shepherded by teachers who were friends and co-workers of his parents and extended family. He graduated from Baltimore City College. He earned his undergraduate degree from Morgan State College and a master’s in criminal justice from Coppin State College. He received other post graduate study at Temple, Johns Hopkins, Yale and Loyola universities.
The focus of many of his professional appointments had been in the areas of adult, continuing and community education programming. He taught in the New Careers and TRIO programs at the Baltimore City Community College where he was appointed director of three major institutional initiatives: The New Careers Program, The Training and Technical Assistance Program and Coordinator of Instruction. His last employment was at Morgan State University in the Division of Sponsored Programs as a grants specialist and later in the Academic Affairs Division as the coordinator of Distance Education. Upon retirement he continued to serve as a consultant on business, human and community development enterprises.
Eric was very active with the Baha’i Faith at an early age and participated in many youth forums and activities across the Eastern Seaboard. He represented the United States at an International Baha’i Conference in Palermo, Sicily and Haifa, Israel. Eric was an active member first of the Baltimore City and later the Baltimore County Baha’i community and served in many capacities. He strove to embody the many principles of the Baha’i Faith especially promoting the oneness of humanity and the necessity of justice for all.
Traveling the world to exotic and historical destinations was one of his many passions. Eric often visited with friends throughout Europe, Asia, South and Central America and the Caribbean. His favorite vacation destinations were his beloved Jamaica and Brazil. He appreciated cultural diversity around the globe and brought numerous pieces closer to home to share with others.
Though traveling the world was fulfilling, Eric was most happy spending time with family and friends around the dinner table, especially during the holidays. Eric was a serious thinker and debater, but appreciated the laughter and jokes of family and friends to bring him back to more light-hearted storytelling.
Left to cherish his memory are his brothers, Eugene D. Byrd Jr., D.D.S. of Baltimore, Md. and Joel P. Byrd, M.D., of Cerritos, CA; sister-in-law Laura Phillips Byrd; nephew, Christopher L. Byrd, niece, Cimmon Byrd Burris (Tylanvis); great-nephews Terrance and Tyler Burris, cousin Anne O. Emery, Ed.D. family matriarch, Godmother Eliza Lindsay and many loving cousins and friends.