Rev. Francis Byron (1933-2023)

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Reverend Francis ‘Frank’ Byron

AUGUSTA- Reverend Francis Archie “Frank” Byron, 89, left us to meet Jesus on Saturday, May 6, 2023, with his beloved wife, Joy, at his side.

Frank was born to Nina and Floyd Byron on July 15, 1933, in Jay, Maine. He graduated from Dixfield High School in 1951. Following high school, Frank enlisted and proudly served in the United States Air Force from 1952 to 1956, a portion of which was spent overseas as an airplane mechanic in the Korean War. After his discharge from the military, Frank worked as a millwright in Rumford, while also pursuing a logging operation on the family farm on Severy Hill in Dixfield.

After more than a decade of nights at the mill and days in the woods, Frank found his true calling and attended Tennessee Temple University in Chattanooga, Tennessee, from which he graduated in 1972 with a Bachelor of Arts in Theology. He was first ordained as a minister in 1974.

Frank was drawn to missions, and spent nearly 20 years in rural Northern Ontario, Canada. He affectionately referred to those days as his “time in the bush.” In addition to his missionary work, Frank also spent time prospecting for gold and staking claims. Frank continued his hobby of prospecting later in life, and although he never struck it rich, he loved being in the wilderness and the excitement of what he might find.

In 1993, Frank returned to Maine, where he continued sharing the gospel, pastoring three separate churches over the following three decades: the North Chesterville Baptist Church; the Center Vassalboro Baptist Church; and the Second Baptist Church in Waterville. Frank officially retired from the ministry in 2022, but he continued to share his faith to anyone who would listen, right up until his final hours.

From his teenage years into his late 80s, Frank loved tinkering with machinery, especially engines. Frank had a lifelong love of automobiles, starting with his 1937 Chevrolet all the way to his 2022 Toyota Corolla Hatchback, and many, many in between. Although his hot rodding days had long since passed, Frank and Joy endured the isolation of Covid-19 by taking weekly “mystery rides” all over northern New England. They were both grateful when the pandemic subsided and they could return to their love of travel. Although there were no more trips to Florida or Hawaii, they were able to resume dining in each and every remote and obscure restaurant they could find. And they never missed a ball game, performance, graduation, wedding, or any other important event in the lives of their family.

Frank was predeceased by his parents, Nina and Floyd Byron; two brothers, Lynn Byron and Randy Byron; his daughter-in-law Jennifer Byron; son-in-law John Roy; granddaughter Tammie Lefebvre; and great granddaughter Bailee Lefebvre.

Frank is survived by his devoted wife, Joy Byron. Also by his brother Elwood (Bud) and wife Gerry Byron; his brother Glenn Byron and partner Toni Gilbert; and in-laws Wayne and Bobbie Farrington; Ted and Lynne Chaffee; and Rick and Lois Chaffee.

Frank is also survived by his two children: daughter Virginia Roy, of Manitoba, Canada; and son Phillip Byron, of Fostoria, Ohio. He is survived by four step-sons: Norm and wife Ellen Trask; Bruce Trask and partner Lauri Marchewka; Steve Trask; and Tony and wife Jacinda Trask.

Frank had 13 grandchildren he loved dearly: Logan, Jessica, Melody, Amy, Arthur, Andrew, Brad, Sydney, Stephen, Tyler, Brooke, Paige, and Tatum; as well as nine great grandchildren: Casey, Kyleigh, Blake, Ella, Owen, Caroline, Grace, Evelyn, and Breyer.

The family would like to offer its deepest gratitude for the wonderful care Togus Springs Hospice Unit provided Frank in his final days.

The burial service was held Thursday, May 18, 2023, at 9:00 a.m., at the Maine Veterans Memorial Cemetery on Mount Vernon Road, Augusta. Following the burial, the celebration of life was held at Penney Memorial Baptist Church at 10.00 a.m., 393 Water Street, Augusta.

In lieu of flowers, Frank asked that memorial donations be made to: Camp Berea, P.O. Box 619, North Turner, ME 04266.

Arrangements are in the care of the Knowlton and Hewins Funeral Home, 1 Church Street, Augusta where condolences and memories may be shared with the family on the obituary page of the funeral home website by visiting

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