Sophie Mae (Long) Byrd was born June 12, 1925 in Sledge, Mississippi to Will and Annie Lee Long.
She moved to Blytheville, Arkansas at a young age, and later moved to Muncie, Indiana; finally settling in Michigan City, Indiana where she met the “love of her life,” her beloved husband, Reverend Avance ‘Ace” Byrd. To this union was born five children: Sylvester Godfrey Byrd, Henrietta Sue Sandidge, Vernessa Louise Fry, Avance Byrd, II, and Aron Byrd.
Mrs. Byrd was a tireless mother, a dedicated caretaker, a talented homemaker, an extraordinary cook, a lover of ceramics, admirer of flowers, and member of the Board of Directors of Head Start, and unbeknowing to many, an exceptional organizer. Mrs. Byrd’s passion and the heritage love for her family, moved her to the extent that she not only coordinated, but organized the first Long family reunion that was held in Michigan City, Indiana. This hidden organizational talent was later explicitly exemplified when she became one of the leading founders of the Dr. Martin Luther King Youth and Community Center that was built and established for the betterment of youth in Michigan City, Indiana in which she received a proclamation of governmental honors and accommodations.
Mother Byrd, although she may have been one who confessed Christ at an early age, it was not until the golden years of her life when she heard the Gospel preached in its totality, that the new birth experience became a reality, and that confession became a possession, and she was baptized in the Name of Jesus Christ and filled with the precious gift of the Holy Ghost. As a member of Logan Park Assembly of Christ Church, she served faithfully as one of the loving Mothers, of the Church, a Member of Sunday School Class 15, and a faithful member of Bible Class and Morning Prayer until she was no longer able to attend.
Mother Sophie Byrd departed this life on December 8, 2020. She was preceded in death by her beloved husband, Rev. Avance Byrd, her parents; Will and Annie L. Long, brothers; R.C. Long, Aaron Long, Eddie Long Sr., William Long, Henry Long, Louis Long, Ivory Long, sisters; Annie M. Henry, Lula Long, Ocie Anderson; special cousin, Homer Lee Miller; and her godson, James Reddix.
She leaves to cherish her precious memories, two loving daughters, Henrietta (Theophilus) Sandidge, of Merrillville, Indiana; Vernessa Louise (Walter) Fry, of Michigan City, Indiana; three sons, Sylvester Godfrey Byrd, Dolomite, Alabama; Avance Byrd II Tacoma, Washington; and Aron Byrd, Shoreline, Washington; six grandchildren, Tameka (Aaron-deceased) Flores of Dunlap, Illinois; Felicia (Dwayne) Lewis of Michigan City, Indiana; Osborne (Amber) Gainer of Merrillville, Indiana; Avance Trenton Byrd III of Miami, Florida; Troy (Yvette) Sandidge of Schamburg, Illinois; Katrina Hines of Indianapolis, Indiana; eight great-grandchildren, and her dear Pastor not to ever be forgotten whom she cherished and loved, Bishop George L. Stearnes D.D., (Emertius) of Gary, Indiana and Pastor, Elder Jeffery E. Allen, Gary, Indiana; and the entire Logan Park Family, along with a host of nieces, nephews, cousins, and friends.
Visitation: Thursday, December 17, 2020 from 2:00-6:00 p.m. at Mt. Zion Missionary Baptist Church, (Dr. Stanley Mason, Pastor) 123 Helen Street, Michigan City, IN. ( Due to COVID-19, funeral services is for family only), Friday, December 18, 2020 at 11:00 a.m. at Logan Park Assembly of Christ, 1513 Polk Street, Gary, IN, Elder Jeffery Allen, officiating. Interment: Swan Lake Memorial Gardens, 5700 US 20, Michigan City, IN.
Mother Sophie Byrd will be sorely missed by all that knew her.
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