Obituary |  William Winslow “Bill” Byington, Jr. of Rome, Georgia

William “Bill” Winslow Byington, Jr., aged 71, of Rome, Georgia, died at his home on Saturday, May 6, 2023.

Bill was born on June 12, 1951 in Augusta, Georgia. The son of a Methodist minister, Bill grew up in many cities across Georgia, including Augusta, Royston, and Madison, but he called Conyers home. He graduated from Rockdale County High School and then became a Double Dawg, with a history degree from the University of Georgia and a law degree from the UGA School of Law. Bill was a lifelong die-hard fan of UGA football and indeed all college football.

Survivors include his 33-year-old wife, Janet Farrar Byington, and their children, Will Byington, III (Heather), Rome, Georgia, Dr. Kelly Malone (Patrick) from St. Simons, Georgia and Emily Johnson (Bryan) from Rome, Georgia. They were the proud grandparents of William Byington, IV, Thomas Byington, Natalee Johnson and George Johnson, all of Rome, Georgia, and Banks Malone and Bishop Malone, St. Simons, Georgia. His parents, Reverend Bill and Hazel Barnett Byington, preceded him in death.

Bill practiced law in Rome for 47 years and was a senior partner at Cox, Byington and Twyman, specializing in real estate law. Bill also served as the United States Magistrate Judge for the Northern District of Georgia for 11 years. He proudly served his country in the Georgia National Guard for six years. He was a member of the Rotary Club of Rome for 40 years. He served on the board of the Chiaha Guild for 35 years. He was a member of the UGA Library Board of Visitors. He was also an active member of the Coosa Country Club and a staunch parishioner of St. Peter’s Episcopal Church.

Bill loved to travel. He and Janet have visited over 24 countries during their marriage. When asked about the basis of their long marriage, Bill often replied “no similar interests and nothing in common.” It seemed to work. Bill also loved to read. He often read two books at a time, and his favorite books were historical accounts of the War Between States and World Wars I and II. His favorite bookstore was GJ Ford on St. Simons Island. St. Simons was a special place for Bill, having been there almost every summer of his life.

However, Bill’s real passion was baseball. He had an uncanny and encyclopedic knowledge of obscure historical facts and statistics. He grew up listening to baseball on the radio but was also fortunate enough to attend every inaugural game at every Atlanta Braves stadium. Diehard fans Bill, Randy Davis, Mike Haney and Pistol Knight made the first scouting trips to minor league parks and met with Braves management to get the Atlanta Braves moving a minor league team to Rome bring to. Just a few years later they did. He and Will often took father-son trips to other stadiums across the US and one of their favorite trips was to the Baseball Hall of Fame in Cooperstown, New York. A peak of his love for the game was when he was 9 years old and living in Royston he spent one on one with Ty Cobb to watch sporting events. Bill was a student of the game and instilled that love in his children and grandchildren.

Bill was one of those rare people who made friends everywhere. Moving from city to city, he not only made new friends easily, but remained friends with them throughout his life. In fact, Bill even made good friends later in life. Sometimes there was a discussion about who his “best” friend was. He was funny, quick-witted and even mischievous at times. He loved his friends very much. He also collected animals. At his home he fed the deer in the front yard, tended his goldfish, bought food for the squirrels, chipmunks and birds, but he adored his dogs, especially Slick and Lady.

Bill never passed a homeless person or heard from a person in need that he didn’t stop and support that need. He wasn’t one to ever judge anyone else, but he would often ask a job candidate if he could understand and explain the Infield Fly Rule before deeming it worthy of being employed.

Bill began reading a devotional each day. He studied the Bible from beginning to end several times. His favorite devotions were The Upper Room and Jesus Calling.

When asked a while ago how he would like to be remembered, Bill said: “I think I would like to be remembered as a happy person. I hope my children and grandchildren will say that I enjoyed life, was kind and didn’t get totally caught up in worries or work and tried to help them on their way.”

Bill lived life to the fullest. We should all be so lucky.

The family will be hosting friends at Henderson & Sons Funeral Home, South Chapel, Tuesday, May 9 from 5:00 p.m. to 7:00 p.m. A memorial service will be held at 4:00 p.m. Wednesday, May 10 at St. Peter’s Episcopal Church in Rome, Georgia, with the participation of Reverend John Herring and Reverend David Boyd.

Honorary pallbearers are: Jack Niedrach, Walter Matthews, Bryant Durham, Wade Monk, Buster Wright, John Graham, Steve Kemp, Larry Hight and Paul Carter.

In lieu of flowers, commemorative contributions may be made to: Rome City Schools Literacy Program, 508 East 2nd Ave., Rome, GA 30161, Floyd Heyman Hospice, 420 East 2nd Avenue, Suite 105, Rome, GA 30161 and St. Mary’s Catholic School, 401 East 7th Street, Rome, GA 30161 or grab a friend and go to a baseball game soon and remember our dearest friend.

Henderson & Sons Funeral Home, South Chapel, is responsible for the preparations.