A state representative, known for a sharp legal mind, has died of an apparent heart attack. Richard Byrd of Kirkwood valued substance over style. Byrd wasn’t a flashy politician, but soon after coming to the House in 2000, he made a name for himself as an expert in the intricate details of the law. He rarely showed emotion, though during the debate a year ago on whether the legislature should override Governor Holden’s veto of his litigation reform bill, Byrd was struck by a colleague’s insistance that the legislature was simply spinning its wheels.That prompted Byrd to ask rhetorically “Why do we do this?” Byrd said lawmakers surely didn’t come to Jefferson City for the money or the fame or the suspect friendship of lobbyists. Byrd talked of being away from family for 5-and-a-half months. He concluded that they do it, because they hope to do good, because they believe they can assess a problem and find a solution. Byrd was 46. He is survived by a wife and two children. Visitation will be from 2 to 8pm Wednesday at Kreighauser West Mortuary, 9450 Olive Boulevard, St. Louis. The funeral Mass will be held at 10am Thursday at Ste. Genevieve DuBois Catholic Church, 1575 North Woodlawn Avenue, Warson Woods. Burial will be at Resurrection Cemetery. Memorial contributions may be made to the Richard G. Byrd Children’s Education Trust, c/o Pioneer Bank of Kirkwood, 333 South Kirkwood Road, St. Louis, Missouri 63122.
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