Melvin Byrd was born March 30, 1931 in Eugene, Oregon to Leonard Elliot Byrd and Grace Hartman Byrd. Mel died on September 4, 2013 in Fallon, Nevada following a long battle with cancer.
He was preceded in death by his mother, Grace Hartman Byrd; his father, Leonard Elliot Byrd; his sisters, Madge Byrd, Belva Byrd, and Marie Byrd Skelly; and his brother, Floyd Byrd.
He is survived by his daughters, Tamera Matthews and Esther Josephson; grandchildren, Weston Stickney, Jennifer van Lienden and Dallas Josephson; and great-granddaughter Alaina Stickney.
Mel spent most of his life living in Humboldt County, California. He lived in a remote area in Humboldt County known as Snow Camp near Blue Lake, CA for the last 20 years. Because of Mel's illness he left his home after his 82nd birthday in March to live with his daughter and son-in-law, Tamera and Troy Matthews, in Winnemucca, NV.
Mel moved from Sebastopol, CA in his twenties with his family to Whitethorn and then to Phillipsville, CA where his parents started the Byrd's Lucky Stop grocery store. Mel had many talents ranging from making grape stakes, shingle bolts and falling timber. He also hauled produce from the Bay Area to Humboldt County, drove taxi cab in San Francisco as well as owning his own logging trucks to name a few.
Later the Byrd's Lucky Stop became the Sawblade Tavern where Mel started his chainsaw carving, storytelling and bartending.
Grace, being a schoolteacher, looked forward to Mel going to college. Mel had other ideas after finishing high school. It was his choice to serve our country. He joined the National Guard during the Korean War years in Fortuna, CA and became a sergeant.
Mel's favorite topics of conversation were politics and logging history. Mel dearly loved his dogs and cat; and was a collector of everything. Mel knew few enemies, earning the respect and friendship of most everyone. Many people consider him a legend equaled only by the legendary Paul Bunyan, a giant of a man. _
Memorial services will be held Saturday, Oct. 26 at 2 p.m. at the Phillipsville Fire House. Potluck dishes welcomed. Garberville V.F.W. honor guard will perform the memorial service.