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Edmund (“Ed”) Francis Byrne was born on May 30, 1933, in Kansas City, MO. He died in Carmel, IN, on October 19, 2021. His parents were Edmond J. and Cecilia Byrne. His father was born and raised in Kansas City; mother in Hays, KS. Cecilia graduated from Marymount College in Ellis, KS, before she met and married her husband. They had two children, Edmund and his sister Rozanne, before their father died of pneumonia in 1936.
Their widowed mother moved with her children to her parents’ house now in Peoria, IL. There he grew up, attended St. Bernard’s Catholic School and Spalding Academy, from which he graduated as valedictorian in 1951. He attended Saint Joseph’s College in Rensselaer, IN, graduating in 1955. A year later he earned an MA in philosophy from Loyola University of Chicago. He then spent four years in the seminary, two in northwestern Missouri and two at the Catholic University in Washington, DC. Ordained a priest in Hannibal, MO, in 1960, he served two years there as a parish priest, then went to the University of Louvain in Belgium on a two-year Fulbright grant, with which he earned a doctorate in philosophy in 1966. (JD added in 1978.)
Back in the U.S., he sought laicization and obtained a 1967-1971 assistant professor teaching position at Michigan State University. Just then, the Indiana University at Indianapolis was established and he was hired as a founding member of the new institution and taught there for thirty-nine years, from 1969 till 1998. He authored or co-authored ten books, fifty-five articles, thirty-nine book reviews, and several books of poems, many produced during his membership in the Carmel Poets Society.
While teaching in Michigan, he met and married Margaret (Peg) Byrne. They had two children, Robert and Coco. Ed and Peg divorced in 1981. Faculty member Anne Donchin then became his life partner. Rob married Jennifer Sawyer, with whom he had two children, Adam Byrne (17) and Jude Byrne (14). Coco married John “Bernie” Kneisly and had daughter Mackenzie Reese Kneisly (20). Mackenzie is now a student at Northwestern University. In 2015, Rob was remarried to Gideon Reid.
In 1998 Anne retired and soon after they bought a new house in Hastings-on-Hudson, NY, from which she and Ed often travelled to NYC for theater, art, and music. After Anne’s passing in 2014, Ed returned to the Indianapolis/Carmel area to reside near family and friends until his death.
No services are planned at this time. The Byrne Family has entrusted Randall & Roberts Funeral Home with Ed's care.
In lieu of flowers, memorial contributions may be made to the E.F. Byrne Peace and Global Justice Award through the IU Foundation, http://www.myiu.org/give-now
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