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Maureen Byrne, New Canaan 'Volunteer of the Year'

NEW CANAAN, Conn. – Maureen Anne Byrne, 61, of New Canaan, died April 15 at her home, surrounded by family. 

Born Oct. 9, 1950 in the Woodhaven section of Queens, N.Y., she was the daughter of James and Therese Byrne. The oldest of nine children, Maureen began caring for others at a young age. Byrne earned a high school diploma from Our Lady of Mercy Academy in Syosset, N.Y. and a bachelor’s degree in foreign languages from the University of Dallas in Texas in 1972. She was honored with the academic Humanitarian Award upon graduation. 

As a young woman, she was an intrepid traveler, visiting many places at home and abroad. Independent and open-minded, Byrne embraced life by trying out new jobs and experiences, from teaching and art to community leadership and philanthropic work. 

A resident of New Canaan for 28 years, she was a member of the Young Women’s League of New Canaan, former president of the Parent Teacher Council for South School and co-chair of wreath-making for the New Canaan Nature Center Christmas market fundraiser. She also volunteered for Person to Person in Darien. 

Byrne started a Kids Care Club at South School and in the mid-90s, won the New Canaan Volunteer of the Year award. She attended Community Bible Study and served on its leader’s council. She also formed a Moms in Touch group to pray for the children of the mothers in the group and she served on the New Canaan Young Life board.  

Professionally, she was a manager at Kids Care, a nonprofit organization that empowers children to care for the under-served through hands-on service projects. She eventually became director of youth and family engagement at generationOn. 

Byrne was a member of Talmadge Hill Community Church in Darien, where she became a catalyst for growing the congregation. She played a major role in its missions outreach for 12 years until she resigned in 2011 due to her illness. In 2010, she was honored with the title of Mrs. March by members of the church. 

She is survived by three children, Patrick, Christian and Julia Hofer; six brothers, Thomas, Michael, James, Patrick, Sean and Terence Byrne; and two sisters, Therese and Jennifer Byrne. 

There will be a memorial service at 2 p.m. Saturday at Talmadge Hill Community Church in Darien, with the Rev. Mich Zeman presiding. Hoyt Funeral Home is in charge of arrangements. 

In lieu of flowers, contributions may be made to the Talmadge Hill Church, Maureen Byrne Missions Endowment Fund. Byrne will be the first member of the church to be memorialized in the new memorial garden at Talmadge Hill.

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