YOUNGSTOWN, Ohio (MyValleyTributes) – Donald William “Bill” Byo, 91, of Bernalillo, New Mexico, passed away Monday, October 2, 2023.
Bill was born June 22, 1932 in Youngstown, Ohio, the son of the late Gustav Andrew and Dorothy May (Johnston) Byo.
One who thrived in music, Bill’s music education began in the band program at Youngstown South High School. He participated in Baptist church orchestras and got his bachelor’s degree at Youngstown College, class of 1954.
He was in the U.S. Army Bands 1954-1956.
His passion for music and teaching would lead to band director positions in the Lordstown Schools and Niles High School and a master’s degree from Kent State University, where in 2000 he was named Distinguished Alumnus of the Glauser School of Music.
In 1963, he was named interim director of bands and professor of bassoon at Youngstown College. (In 1967, it would become Youngstown State University.) 29 years at YSU included leadership as assistant dean, dean and finally director of the Dana School of Music. In retirement, he continued to teach part time at YSU, Westminster College and Grove City College. During all of these years, he combined substantial teaching and administrative responsibilities with substantial activity as a respected performing musician, who joined with talented and dedicated other musicians to cultivate the classical music culture of the Mahoning Valley and Western Pennsylvania.
Bill was a long-time member of the Youngstown Symphony Orchestra, the Warren Philharmonic Orchestra, the W. D. Packard Band, the Greenville (PA) Symphony Orchestra and the Kenley Players Orchestra. He was a founding member of the Dana Woodwind Quintet. In 2004 he was the recipient of the Heritage Award for exceptional service to Youngstown State University. In 2021 he retired from the Packard Band as Conductor Emeritus and Conductor Laureate.
Bill is survived by his wife, June Catherine (Wajda) Byo, whom he married December 27, 1954. He also leaves his children and their spouses, James (Jane) Byo, Susan (Howard) Passell and Kathy (Richard) Hentosh; grandchildren, Ben (Adrienne) Byo, Caitlin (Justin) Thuet, Alex (Mary) Byo and Julia Passell and five great-grandchildren.
Bill is preceded in death by his brother, Charles Byo.
Calling hours will be held Friday, October 13 from 6:00 – 8:00 p.m. at Blackstone Funeral Home, 672 Churchill Road Girard, OH, 44420.
A funeral service will be held on Saturday, October 14 at 11:00 a.m. at Church Hill United Methodist Church, 189 Churchill Hubbard Road, Youngstown, OH 44505.
Bill will be laid to rest at Tod Homestead Cemetery.
The family requests memorial gifts be made to the general scholarship fund of the Dana School of Music, Youngstown State University Foundation at ysufoundation.org.
A television tribute will air Monday, October 9 at the following approximate times: 5:17 a.m. on WKBN, 8:39 a.m. on FOX, 5:21 p.m. on WYTV and 6:35 p.m. on MyYTV. Video will be posted here the day of airing.