Horace Gene Byrum, Jr.

December 17, 1956 - August 11, 2016

12/17/1956 - 08/11/2016

AHOSKIE, NC-Horace Gene Byrum, Jr., age 59, passed away on August 11, 2016 at his daughters home in Ahoskie, NC.

Mr. Byrum was born on December 17, 1956 to the late Horace Gene Byrum, Sr. and Lucy Harrell Byrum in Colerain, NC. Gene was a long distance truck driver for many years before spending the last few years as an electrician for Berry Plastics. He loved life and lived it to the fullest. Gene enjoyed spending time with friends, especially at the ocean. He was a loving father and especially loved his grandchildren.

“Gene” is survived by his daughter, Heather Byrum Roberts and her husband Jeremy of Ahoskie, his son, William “Bud” Byrum of Greenville, NC; two grandsons, Blake and Benjamin Byrum of Greenville; and two granddaughters, Makynley and Macy Roberts of Ahoskie.

There will be no services at this time for “Gene”. The family will honor his wishes and scatter his ashes at a later date.

Garrett-Sykes Funeral Service – Ahoskie Chapel is handling the arrangements for the Byrum family and online condolences can be directed to the family by visiting www.garrettsykesfs.com.

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Helen Newby
7 years ago

Oh, my boy Gene. I’m missing the little messages he would post on Facebook – so pithy, on point and short!!
One of the many, silly things is Gene continued to call me “Aunt Helen” even though he and my relative had divorced. I told Gene a couple of years ago he could be on first name basis with me – we were in the Ahoskie Wal-Mart parking lot. (Gene had seen me getting out of my car. He yelled across the parking lot “Aunt Helen” loud enough to be heard in Murfreesboro.) I realized (quickly!) Gene was a wee bit hurt and thought I didn’t want to be his aunt any more. That was not the case at all. I promptly put in “Gene, you are old enough now we can be on first name basis”. Gene laughed his from the knees-up belly laugh and said “Hell. At my age, Aunt Helen, you probably ought to be calling me ‘MISTER Snake’.”
I bumped into Gene in the lobby at Kings Daughters when Makynley was fist-fighting for her life as a preemie. ( I had to wait at the desk for Heather to put my name on the visitor’s list. ) When Gene heard I was downstairs, he left so I could have his ‘space’ in the unit. Horace Gene was grinning all over himself when he walked up to me and practically the first words outta his mouth were “I got me a Little Possum”.
The Crazy Diamond – Gene’s sailboat – docked at Mackey’s Marina – was one of Gene’s private messages that I’m going to share. I live near the marina. Around May I asked Gene via Private Message if the restaurant at Mackey’s was going to be open this season. Gene’s answer “Come on the Diamond. I got potted meat, beanie-weanies and sardines.” Of course I know he was joshing me.
Those that knew Gene will miss his living free spirit. But his SPIRIT will always be present.
Heather – Jeremy. In memory of Gene I have ordered five Bibles to be placed in your church.

Patti Goetz
7 years ago

Gene was so full of adventure that there was never a dull moment when he was around. I will never forget the Fri night we were watching a movie at his house and he went to the kitchen to get a beer. The next thing I heard was a big “wham!” And he came hobbling back to sit down on the sofa. He grunted, groaned, put his right leg up on the coffee table, rubbed his leg but would never admit that it hurt. Not even when the tears began to slide down his cheeks did he admit to pain. I kept telling him it was broken and he needed to go to the ER. Nope. Nothing doing. He HAD to go to work Mon morning. Needless to say, the next morning we were in the ER and he was getting a long leg cast put on.
I will also never, EVER forget the 4th of July we spent on the sailboat out in the sound. We had tried to sail to Hertford from Mackey’s Marina to watch the fireworks. We never made it so we turned around. A storm blew up so we dropped the sails and the anchor for the night. The next morning, Gene went out of the cabin, crawled up to the front of the boat to untangle some line. I stood there, perched out of the cabin hatch watching him. He yelled at me to move and said “the mast is coming down!” About the time I asked him what he said, I noticed the mast swaying. I looked up at it just in time to see it come crashing down. Down on my right arm at the hatch opening. I almost fainted it hurt so bad! It took forever to drag that sail out of the water and get back to the marina because the motor stopped 3 times!!
We always had so much fun and we made a lot of fun memories. The festivals, concerts at the NorVA, “The Wall” concert in DC…
He was a special person. He could make me so mad sometimes but had a heart as good as gold. I will never, ever forget him or the time we shared, or the fun we had together.
Shine on, you crazy diamond.

Mitzy Benhart
7 years ago

In the 8-1/2 years I’ve lived here and worked at Berry, I can always recall a humorous event with “Snake” from his costumes during unbelievably cold Polar Plunges to his joking with the Commissioner during annual NC safety awards banquets. I didn’t even know why he was called Snake until he showed me the pictures. He enjoyed life and will be greatly missed.

Betty Bunch
7 years ago

Heather, Bud you probably don’t remember me- I am your Dad’s Aunt Betty ,Edenton,NC
I remember you when you were small. I also remember your Dad well and remember his musical talents. I have a newspaper picture of him winning an award that his gr.mo.
had re his driving a truck. Had not seen him in yrs. Was always nice to me. I know you will miss him. My sincere sympathy to you and the family.

Mark Peele
7 years ago

Memories of Gene, Colerain, music, and yes snakes came flooding back hearing the sad news of Gene’s passing. Life is a journey, a journey made sweeter by memories and memorable people. Gene was certainly a memorable person. I remember him enjoying the boa event Stuart recounts, Gene enjoyed sharing the story. I will leave my memory of Gene as a young man of 20 something enjoying life, friends, and family. God bless you all.

7 years ago


Bud Byrum
7 years ago

My dad was a rock star in every essence of the term. He lived his life like that everyday. He was the most flambouyant and most charasmatic person in any room. He loved to party… Raise Hell…and haul ass in no particular order. Legend was he would play music with his band as a young man and after they finished their set he would hop on his dirt bike shirtless with a snake wrapped around his neck. Doesn’t get much more rock n roll than that pops! People that got to know my deddy (as I always called him) knew he was the crocodile hunter before there was a crocodile hunter. He was Slash before there was a Slash. He was a North Carolina redneck long before it became “trendy” to be one. My deddy was his own captain of his own ship and everyone else just rode in the wake. He was truly a free spirit where no laws, no rules, and no form of socialy correct society could contain him. My deddy was Ozzy Osboune, Alice Cooper, David Gilmore, Bill Ward, Justin Wilson, Dale Earnhardt SR, David Allan Coe, Hank Williams JR ,Delbert McClinton, Vern Goslin, and Louis Armstrong all rolled into one. And if you don’t believe that ask anyone that saw him karaoke or drive anything with wheels on it lol. I have so many stories over my life about my deddy that are so fascinating and unique, just like he was. I look forward to sharing those memories with his grand kids and the people that knew him the rest of my life. My deddy was never going to grow old and become a “has been” telling these stories. It suited him just fine to burn out instead of fading away. Dad if you get to see this…I want you to know you are my rock star. You are a hall of fame rock star. I see your spirit in Blake everyday (god help us). Somehow we spared Ben. You do have a legacy, your name will carry on and you will not be forgotten. We love you..we will miss you….Throughout my life if I need you I know where to look. I’ll see you On the dark side of the moon……

Sharon Knowles
7 years ago

Prayers to you and your family, Heather. Love you bunches.

April and Mark Godwin
7 years ago

Praying for peace and strength for you all during game this time. May you find smiles admit the tears as you cherish the memories that never leave.

Stuart Jernigan
7 years ago

Wow, there are so many. The one that immediately comes to mind is that we were watching football one day and he decided to feed the BOA. He had it in a glass display case that he got from somewhere. He dropped a piece of chicken into the case hanging on a string. I dumbly decided to tap the case while the snake was staring at the dead chicken, and it immediately turned and bit the glass with a mouth about 6 inches wide where my hand was. It scared the stuffing out of me and Gene just laughed and laughed and called me a big dummy. I was.