John Neil Byrnes, 75, died peacefully Saturday, June 4, 2016, at Cottingham Hospice House in Seneca, S.C.
He was born April 7, 1941, to Charles and Harriet (Pinkerton) Byrnes in Evanston, the youngest of four children.
He was an accomplished Boy Scout and Eagle Scout and enjoyed working on cars. His love of cars continued throughout his life, owning several sports cars, his last one a Corvette.
He met Loretta “Laurie” Hart on a blind date, and they married Feb. 27, 1960, at Our Lady of Perpetual Help in Glenview.
While one of his early aspirations was to be the best auto mechanic there ever was, he realized he was an excellent salesman. His sales success led to starting his own hardwood-flooring business in Woodstock, Floors Inc. Thirty-six years after starting the business, he was inducted into the Maple Flooring Manufacturers Association Hall of Fame, an honor he was incredibly proud to receive.
He and his wife enjoyed traveling, mostly to Ireland to pursue another love, golf. They visited Ireland seven times, often with friends, and played courses across the country. In 1998, he fulfilled another lifelong goal and earned a pilot’s license, flying a Cessna 182. Later he began volunteering with Habitat for Humanity in Oconee County, S.C., building homes.
His four children were all and each very special to him as were his grandchildren.
He is survived by his wife; four children, Dave (Cris) Byrnes, Woodstock, Carol (Dale) Ames, Groton, Mass., Megan (Mike) Scully, Wilmette, and Katy (Otto) Kaiser, Madison, Wis.; eight grandchildren, Nicole (Corey) Lefebvre, Kyle Ames, Sam Byrnes, Luc Byrnes, Max Scully, Jack Scully, Wyatt Kaiser and Quinn Kaiser; a sister, Joanne (Larry) Morand; a brother, Don Byrnes; and countless other family, friends, colleagues and admirers.
He was preceded in death by his parents; a brother, Charles Byrnes; and his lifelong friend, Chuck Christensen.
Visitation will be from 9 to 11 a.m. Monday, June 13, at St. Mary Catholic Church, 312 Lincoln Ave., Woodstock. A memorial Mass will begin at 11 a.m., at the church.
Memorials can be made to Oconee County Habitat for Humanity, P.O. Box 685, Seneca, SC 29679 or to Adult and Child Therapy Services, 708 Washington St. Woodstock, IL 60098.
Arrangements were by Schneider, Leucht, Merwin and Cooney Funeral Home, Woodstock.