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James Byrns

October 16, 1926-June 7, 2019

CLINTON — James E. Byrns, 92, of Clinton passed away, Friday, June 7, 2019, at his home in Clinton. Per his wishes there will be no services or visitation.

James Edwin Byrns was born on October 16, 1926, in Cincinnati, Ohio, the son of Albert and Loretta (Arnold) Byrns. He graduated from Withrow High School in Cincinnati in 1944 before enlisting in the United States Navy and serving during World War II. He later attended Oberlin College in Ohio and later graduated on the GI Bill from the University of Wisconsin-Madison School of Engineering in 1949. He married Juanita Kirby on September 1, 1948, in Cincinnati.

Jim moved his family to Clinton in 1962, serving as plant manager of Lord Baltimore Press/International Paper. A creative and talented inventor, he founded Custom-Pak, in 1973, growing the enterprise to over 1,000 employees in Clinton and DeWitt, Iowa, Walnut Ridge, Arkansas, and Mexicali, Mexico. Jim was awarded many patents over his career.

A respected business and community leader, Jim served as director on many boards including, Mercy Hospital (chairman), Custom-Pak, Inc. (chairman), Citizens First Bank, Interstate Power, Clinton Country Club, United Way, Clinton Chamber of Commerce and Clinton County Development Association. Jim was a member of Rotary, Gyro and founded Junior Achievement in Clinton.

Jim enjoyed creating businesses beginning as a teenager with his “Ice Ball” stand for which he invented and built his own hand propelled machine. Jim believed in giving back to the community and was very supportive of many organizations. He loved fishing, hunting and traveling.

Jim is survived by his wife of 70 years, Juanita Byrns of Clinton; son, Mike (Tricia) Byrns of Clinton; two daughters, Cheryle (Jerry) Vilmont of Clinton, and Tammy Olsen (Richard Johnson) of Clinton; six grandchildren, Christopher Byrns, Jamie Dean Glover, Tara Byrns Corbin, Sara Dean Moore, Alexander Olsen and Elizabeth Olsen; and ten great-grandchildren.

He was preceded in death by his parents, his sister, and a grandson, Michael Olsen.

Memorials can be made to Clinton Community College Scholarship Fund and/or The Clinton Humane Society. Snell-Zornig Funeral Homes & Crematory has assisted the family with arrangements.

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