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SHRM Field Services Director Remembered Fondly
 

By Aleita Johnson  6/4/2009
 

Ann M. Byrnes, field services director for the Society for Human Resource Management (SHRM), died May 27, 2009, at her home in Phoenix, Ariz., from an aneurysm. She was 54.

Byrnes joined the SHRM staff in August 2005. She worked as a field services director in the Member Services Division for the Southwest Central Region based in Phoenix, which covers Arizona, Colorado, Kansas, New Mexico and Utah. She served as regional manager for the North Central Region based in Cincinnati, Ohio before transferring to Phoenix.  

Her work in HR included more than 20 years as an HR practitioner, three years with another national association, and several years as a volunteer leader. She served as president of the Butler County (Ohio) HR Association; president of the Greater Cincinnati HR Association; co-chair of the 1990 Ohio State HR Conference; and Ohio SHRM State Council Director from 2004-2005.

Byrnes received her bachelor’s and master’s degrees from Xavier University of Cincinnati; her master’s degree was in business administration.

She received her Professional in Human Resources (PHR) certification in 1983 and her Senior Professional in Human Resources (SPHR) certification in 1995.

“Ann used to say that she was one of the luckiest people in the world because she was working her dream job at SHRM,” said SHRM Field Services Director Martha Ramirez, PHR, a supervisor and close friend of Byrnes.

The first impression Pamela J. Green, SPHR, SHRM’s chief membership officer for the Member Services Division, had of Byrnes was how much she loved her job.

“What I came to know was that not only did she love her job, but she loved the profession, working with the members and she loved the travel,” Green said.

Co-workers noticed the importance of family in Byrnes’ life. Her desire to be closer to her parents, who were relocating from Cincinnati, was one reason she transferred to Phoenix, pointed out Larry Burk, SPHR, field services director for the Southwest Central Region. They died shortly after she moved to be near them.

Byrnes shared a close bond with other family members, too.

“I recall spending an evening in Phoenix with her sister, Beth, Beth’s husband, Bart, and their son, Bryce—their closeness and mutual love touched my heart—joy was there,” said Burk.

Byrnes will be remembered for her warm spirit and sense of humor.

Green recalls Byrnes’ attempts to tell a funny story, only to erupt in laughter before reaching the punch line.

“What made me laugh wasn’t the story itself, but that when she saw I didn’t get it right away, she’d wave her hand and say ‘oh, well guess you had to be there’ almost every time. It was her signature line to end the story, but she’d keep laughing. I think I’ll miss that the most.”

Colleagues will miss her, says Burk, who remembers Byrnes “as a warm and giving person, always trying to help those around her, and this is a legacy for all of us to follow.”

Ramirez says she, too, was touched by Byrnes.

“Ann was a person that made life better, more interesting, and kinder for all the people around her,” Ramirez said. “She will be greatly missed by all who loved her.”

A viewing was held from 6:30 to 8:30 p.m. June 4 at Geo. H. Rohde & Son Funeral Home, 3183 Linwood Ave. in Cincinnati. Funeral services were to be at 10:30 a.m. June 5 at Guardian Angels Church, 6531 Beechmont Ave. in Cincinnati.

All donations in honor of Ann M. Byrnes are asked to be made to MSKCC-Bryce Faber NB Research Fund, 1275 York Ave. in New York or to the SHRM Foundation. The fund is in behalf of her 9-year-old nephew Bryce Faber who has had NB, or neuroblastoma.

Aleita Johnson is an editorial intern for SHRM.
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