William J. Byrne of Atlanta, formerly of Montclair, died at home on June 23, 2021, surrounded by his family. He was 80.

Mr. Byrne was born to Helen and Michael Byrne in New York City and grew up in Montclair. 

He attended Boston College, where he played football and graduated with a degree in business. He was drafted by the Philadelphia Eagles in 1961 and spent five years in the NFL. 

Mr. Byrne moved to Hilton Head Island, South Carolina, in 1976 and started Dunes Marketing Group, a real estate agency that became one of the top residential firms on the island. In 1987 he acquired Big Canoe, a resort community in northern Georgia, and moved his family to Atlanta. He spent the next 30 years creating one of Georgia’s premier mountain communities.

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Never one to mince words, Mr. Byrne had a style all his own, with a booming voice and a generous heart. He was a devout Catholic with an insatiable quest for learning and growing. He had an enthusiasm for life and never took for granted his many blessings. Above all else, he loved his three daughters and two granddaughters.

He is survived by his daughters, Tara Byrne, Erin Byrne and Moire Byrne Menning; son-in-law, Preston Menning; grandchildren, McCamy and Ellie Menning; brother, Eugene Byrne, and nephew, Michael Byrne. He was preceded in death by his parents and his former wife and dear friend, Mary Katherine Byrne. 

The family will receive friends Tuesday, June 29, from 6 to 8 p.m. at H.M. Patterson and Son, Arlington Chapel, 173 Allen Road NE, Sandy Springs, Georgia. The funeral Mass will be Wednesday, June 30, at 2 p.m. at Holy Spirit Catholic Church, 4465 Northside Drive, Atlanta. A private interment will be held at a later date.  

In lieu of flowers, contributions may be made in Mr. Byrne’s honor to Daughters Against Alzheimer’s, daughtersagainstalzheimers.org, 3215 Wood Valley Road NW, Atlanta, GA 30327, or Holy Spirit Catholic Church.