Thanksgiving is my favorite holiday.
The four day celebration combines family, friends, football, food, and traditions. The seasonal decorations and putting the leaf in the dinner table adds to to the anticipation of seeing friends and family together for the first time in months and in some cases, more than a year.
Lately, one of my favorite things about the holiday is our children returning home from college for a quick visit and the addition of a grandson.
A tradition we have come to treasure is a visit from “Uncle Al.” I have known Al since 1986. He was the best man in our wedding, the godfather to one of our sons, and he has become an important part of our family.
During Al’s Thanksgiving visit, the schedule of events seldom change. We share an adult beverage upon his arrival on Wednesday afternoon and on Thursday morning we turn on the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade and Al catches up with our children. After we battle with carving the turkey, we eat, watch football, complain about the Jets and Dolphins, and eat again.
On Friday we play golf in the morning, discuss the status of college football, and then prepare for our annual feast at Ted’s. This is Al’s treat and is a festive event that everyone looks forward to. After dinner we stroll through Dorothy Oven Park to take in the lights.
And then on Saturday morning, Al joins us to pick out our Christmas tree before heading back south.
Unfortunately, this year things will be different.
On May 23, 2023 our “Uncle Al” passed away after a battle with cancer. He was 68 years old and lived a eventful life.
As is often the case, life changing events result in reflection, especially for those of us who are older. So over the next few days we will think of Al often, we will share stories, we will laugh and we will cry and, more importantly, we will give thanks for his life and his friendship.
Here’s to “Uncle Al”!
Allan Morgan Byrne
Allan Morgan Byrne, age 68, of Oviedo, Florida passed away on Tuesday, May 23, 2023. Allan was born in Brooklyn, New York on October 23, 1954. He is survived by his sister Dolores Brennan (James) and brothers Robert (Laurie), Gerard (Janice), Liam (Mary), Gavin (Diane), and Gregory (Han) and 10 nieces and nephews.
Allan grew up in Northport, New York and graduated from Northport High School in 1972. Allan continued his education at Oswego State University and graduated with a business degree in 1976.
Allan took a job with Harris Corporation – located in Syosset, New York – and relocated to Orlando, Florida in 1984 to help establish a new division. He worked with Harris Corporation until 1992. After a brief stint with a medical finance start-up company in Tallahassee, Florida, Al took a job at Lockheed Martin in Orlando in 1994.
Al would spend the remainder of his work career at Lockheed Martin, retiring after 20 years as a Senior Staff Estimator. While there, Al worked on proposals that allowed him to travel to England, France, The Netherlands, Greece, Singapore, Australia, and New Zealand.
Al was an avid reader, an encyclopedia of sports & history trivia and a seeker of the prefect golf swing. He loved to share his passion for Broadway, his allegiance to New York sports teams and his home-made red sauce.
During his 40 years in Orlando, Al would develop enduring and meaningful friendships which led to many memories. Memories of golf outings, travel, and fellowship during holidays. One of Al’s endearing traits was his ability to effortlessly engage with the children of his close friends who affectionally knew him as “Uncle Al.”
During his 10-year retirement, Al took advantage of the opportunity to develop another group of friends at his gym as he focused on his health. He would also spend more time with those closest to him. Be it a sailing adventure with a former work colleague, a golf trip with family & friends, a trip out west to see friends that had relocated or attending a sporting event of a close friend’s child, Al made the most of his time.
Al will be remembered as a compassionate and loyal friend – never judgmental, but never afraid to speak the truth.