Kristen A. Byrne
March 18, 1949 – October 28, 2022
VISITATION: Thursday, November 3rd from 5pm to 7pm at the West Center Chapel, followed by VIGIL SERVICE at 7pm. MASS OF CHRISTIAN BURIAL: Friday, November 4th at 11am, St. Wenceslaus Catholic Church, 15353 Pacific. In lieu of flowers, memorials will be directed by the family.
Kristen A. Byrne (73) peacefully passed on October 28, 2022. Kris is survived by her husband Stephen (74); her children Lori (and husband Michael), Jennifer (and husband Aaron), Jon (and wife Carrie Ray), Ryan (and wife Angie); and grandchildren Evan (23), Jordyn (20), Kylin (16), Rory (18), Georgia (15), Logan (12), Mia (8), Kyliegh (24), Hayden (15), and Ryker (9).
Heroes are often fictional. But heroes are everywhere around us. Our mother was one of them. She didn’t wear a cape, but she was a loving wife, sister, mother, and grandmother who could lift us all up. She couldn’t run through walls, but she could make us all believe we could. She didn’t wear a shield, but she was ours.
Our mother was brilliant at so many things, up to and including, how to turn food into an experience. A recipe is, if you think about it, really like telling a story. She was meticulous, quite meticulous actually, with her recipes, her stories. Stories hidden in every delightful, delectable dish. Holidays and birthdays were impossible to miss, where the menu and the company, far surpassed anything else.
Speaking of incredible dishes, here’s a slice.
Kris grew up in a large and vibrant Midwest family. She was the middle child in a family of seven siblings. Daughter to an engineer and homemaker, who undoubtedly provided the inspiration for her talent for taste, discipline, and a devotion to family. German roots were unmistakable. Like our grandfather, our mother had an infectious laugh. It would fill the room, fill the house really, and instantly raise the spirits of those around.
The Salad Days
Our mother was a bunny, a Benson Bunny. She and dad met at a Creighton mixer while she was still attending Benson HS. It was meant to be. They married in 1970 and were on the path to a long life together. Our home growing up was perfect. Nestled next to Boys Town Farm in West Omaha, it was our parents’ first home. During evenings and weekends, the air was filled with the sounds of kids playing, corn stalks swaying, and my mother’s voice hollering like the dinner bell when it was time to come home for supper. Homemade breaded and baked chicken, mashed potatoes and steak, and goulash were routine. Those German roots. Dad worked late often; therefore, our mother ruled the roost. School, work, supper, and sports. Rinse and repeat, daily. If there was ever a sick kid in the house, Mom most likely would pick us up from school. That’s a hero.
As her kids grew, so did their spheres, and by extension, so did Mom’s. Softball, dance, soccer, wrestling—all her kids excelled in sport, in spirit, in life. Her kids all married, to wonderful partners. Kris was fortunate to see her family flourish to 10 grandchildren. Already, her finger-lickin’ fingerprints on food have filtered down to her kids.
The holidays were especially tasteful. For 40 years, our mother hosted Thanksgiving dinner. Routinely, 40 people, packed into the house all savoring the moment the turkey is cut and the sides are served. The warmth in that room, not from the food, but the family, defined holiday traditions. Christmas was, in a word, family. Imagine, a hundred gifts glistening, Mom, Dad, the kids, the grandkids, 20 stockings, and a tree decorated only like our mother could. Shortly after brunch, as you can imagine, chaos ensued while opening presents. Then, a brief respite from the spirit of Christmas before supper. A delectable supper. The kids and grandkids would leave fat and happy, every time.
She had exquisite taste. Holidays were important to Kris, she mastered them all. The house was home to all the usual holiday suspects. St. Patty’s, Easter, July 4th, Halloween, but Thanksgiving and Christmas were special. Her home, much like her mother’s, was wrapped in warmth, laughter, family, and delicious food.
and the Dessert
The golden years have been blessed. Ten grandkids. That’s a proud grandmother. As a mother, Kris was a constant presence in the audience and in the stands for her kids’ events. As a grandmother, she was an avid spectator at countless volleyball matches, as well as softball, basketball, football, and soccer games for her grandkids. Her presence in the stands or on the sidelines will be forever missed, but you can rest assured, she’s still watching and hollering from above.
With retirement brought an enviable tour of destinations across the country and across the globe. She deserved it. She worked full time and raised four exceptional kids while doing so. She was a loving wife, a rock-steady sister, a compassionate mother, and a world-class nana.
Kris will forever be remembered for her generosity, a home founded on warmth, love, and compassion, and her infectious laugh that will continue to carry on through her kids and grandkids. Her recipe took practice, it took patience. It’s remarkable how central she was to our lives. She remains all around us, still. Irreplaceable, she will be forever missed.
Wife, sister, mom, nana. We love you.