Barbara Mae (Foster) Byford, 87, of Woodway, passed away unexpectedly, but peacefully, in her sleep on Saturday morning, May 1, 2021. A visitation will be 5 to 7 P.M. Thursday, May 6, 2021, in the Chapel of Grace Gardens Funeral Home, 8220 Woodway Dr. Waco. The graveside service and interment will be 10:00 A.M. Friday, May 7, 2021, at Harris Creek Cemetery in McGregor with Rev. Joe Gatlin officiating.
Barbara was born August 12, 1933, in Lexington, OK. The family moved to Bakersfield, California where her father died and at the age of 4, Barbara and her two brothers traveled to Hubbard, TX to be cared for by paternal family. The boys spent several years growing up at the Methodist Children’s Home in Waco. However, because of health issues, they were unable to provide long term care for Barbara. As a child, she had to move several times within Texas where she was cared for by various family members. She lived with relatives located in Hubbard, the Rio Grande Valley, El Paso and in the Panhandle. Eventually, at the age of 14, Barbara was able to live at the YWCA in Waco. She babysat and cleaned houses for support, but enjoyed her job as server at a local café the best. On May 19, 1950, at age 16, she married Marshall Lee Byford and settled in Waco. Lee was a loving and attentive husband who was able to provide Barbara with the stable family life she had always desired as a child. Education was also important to Barbara, since she had only been able to finish the 9th grade. In 1957, they moved their family of 3 young children from Waco to Woodway so that the children would have the opportunity to attend Midway schools The family joined First Baptist Church of Woodway where Barbara was an active member until the last several years of her life.
When the children reached middle school, Barbara began to work outside the home doing secretarial jobs. She really enjoyed working as an aide in the Midway schools. During the last 25 years of her life, she was an excellent housekeeper for families in the Waco area. She was blessed to be loved and needed by these families.
Barbara enjoyed meeting new people. The family joked that within 15 minutes she would know all about a person’s life history. She had the unique ability to retain the individual details about the people that she met.
The last 3 years of her life were marked by the slow progression of dementia. In December 2020, she went to live at Stoney Brook of Hewitt, an assisted living center. Barbara loved feeling needed and useful. She enjoyed volunteering her time assisting the Stoney Brook aides with housekeeping chores. Barbara was preceded in death by her parents, two brothers and her husband of 62 years, Lee Byford.
She is survived by her 3 children, Diane Russell, Janie Smith and husband, Billy Gene, and Eddie Byford and wife, Carol. She has 7 grandchildren and 3 great grandchildren.
The family would like to extend a special thank you to Maria Stephenson, who was an excellent caregiver, and more importantly a great friend to Barbara during this past year.
In lieu of flowers, memorial contributions may be made to Mission Waco or Habitat for Humanity.
The guestbook is offered at www. gracegardensfh.com. Through this site, you are encouraged to leave personal condolences or memories of Barbara.
To send flowers to Barbara's family, please visit our floral store.