STAMFORD, Conn. — Anna M. Byrnes of Stamford, who devoted her life to serving her country as a nurse, died on Sunday, Aug. 6. She was 99.
Born in Stamford on April 2, 1918, Byrnes was the eldest child of Patrick and Elizabeth Byrnes. She attended St. John Parochial School and Stamford High School.
Byrnes graduated from the Norwalk Hospital School of Nursing and taught Red Cross volunteers to work as nursing assistants. Fully intending to join the military as a nurse, her plans changed after her brother, Patrick Jr., was killed in World War II in a plane crash in Papua New Guina, and she remained at home with her family.
Sadly, Anna Byrnes died just 10 days before her brother's remains, which were only recently identified, are to be returned home to Stamford. The family plans a Mass of Christian Burial and interment with full military honors for Patrick "Bud" Byrnes as well.
In 1945, she applied for the Navy Nursing Corps and was called to active duty in July 1945. When the war ended, she remained on active duty for a year before returning home to Stamford.
Byrnes was a nursing instructor at Stamford Hospital and completed her bachelor's degree at New York University. While still in the Navy Reserves, she got orders for sea duty as senior nurse on the USS Butner, transporting military and their families to and from Europe. She enjoyed her work in the Navy and applied for a full-time career in 1951.
In her Navy career, Byrnes was an instructor at the Hospital Corps School in Great Lakes, Ill.; the recruiting director for Navy Nurses during the Korean and Vietnam wars; and was the assistant to the Inspector General Medical for Nursing. In that job, she traveled around the world, inspecting hospitals in the U.S., Japan, Philippines, Australia, Spain, Italy, Cyprus, Egypt and Morocco. Over the course of her career, Byrnes worked in Naval hospitals in Rhode Island, Texas, Iceland and Maryland. She retired in 1975, attaining the rank of captain.
Upon retirement, Byrnes returned to Stamford and enjoyed time with her family and friends. She enjoyed painting, anything on PBS, gave Tai Chi a try, was amused by Facebook and "read absolutely anything she could get her hands on." She traveled into her 80s and cared for her mother and siblings in their old age.
Byrnes was a longtime parishioner of St. Gabriel's and was a sponsor in the RCIA program.
She was predeceased by her parents, and her siblings, Patrick Byrnes, Jr., Elizabeth Bennett, Rita Hughes and William Byrnes.
She is survived by her sister-in-law, Rosemarie Byrnes of Stamford; Patrick Hughes and family of Lake Oswego, Ore.; Michael Hughes and family of Moorpark, Calif.; Peter Hughes and family of Glen Ridge, N.J.; William Hughes and family of Las Vegas; Gregory Byrnes and family of Stratham, N.H.; and Anmarie Galgano and family of South Salem, N.Y.
Calling hours will be Friday, Aug. 11, from 6 to 8 p.m. at Leo P. Gallagher and Sons Funeral Home, 2900 Summer St., Stamford. A Mass of Christian Burial will be celebrated Saturday, Aug. 12, at 10 a.m. at St. Gabriel's Church, 914 Newfield Ave., Stamford. Interment with military honors will follow at Queen of Peace Cemetery, 124 Rockrimmon Road, Stamford.
In lieu of flowers, the family requests that memorial donations be made to St. Gabriel's Church.
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