James E. Byrns


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, Ohio 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; and 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, 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.
Published on June 10, 2019
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9 posts

Cindy Zabilka-Marhula
Jun 13, 2019
Dear Byrns Family,
I am saddened to hear about Mr. Byrns.
He was such a character with a good sense of humor!
My memories of Jim Byrns is that of happiness and entertaining. He lit up any room with his dynamic personality!
The inventor, creative and business sense helped Jim be successful in anything he touched.
To the family,; I am deeply sorry for your loss! I understand the pain you are all going through. My thoughts and prayers are with you now and forever! 🙏🏼😢
PS Tammy, I have missed our friendship these past years. I didn’t know about Michael! My sympathy to you and your family!
Mary Block
Jun 13, 2019
Dee A Petersen
Jun 11, 2019
I will always remember how kind and funny he was, I will also remember how he and Juanita would come in on Halloween in costume and chatting with everyone. He will be sorely missed.
Purl Weber
Jun 11, 2019
I’m one of many employees that worked in his first building 1975 - 1984. I was always impressed by his friendliness and concern for us. Rest in Peace
Diana Krajnovich Mussmann
Jun 11, 2019
Sorry to hear of your. Prayers to the Byrns family.
Mark Henfrey
Jun 11, 2019
I have many many fond memories of hunting with Jim back in the good old days. He was always quick with a compliment, and a joke - he will be greatly missed. My sincere condolences.
Lynn And Bob Curtis
Jun 10, 2019
Jim was a very special person. He touch the lives of both my husband, Bob, and myself numerous times throughout our 50 years of friendship. From feeding our Labrador. donuts before Bob and he went hunting, to several fishing memories, both of us working under him both at International Paper (Bob 37 years)and at Custom-Pak (me 26 years), to just receiving his warm smile and wonderful hugs, he always exemplified the person you always wanted to be. A wonderful husband, awesome father, outstanding employer and wonderful friend. A life well lived. Our last 50 years would not have been the same without him. Heartfelt sympathy to Juanita and family during this time of sorrow.
Marilyn Carswell
Jun 10, 2019
Was a very easy man to talk to. I've worked for him over 30 yrs. Came in one day and sat at the picnic table with us and had a chat.
Thomas Burnett and Jeanne Burnett McCaulley
Jun 10, 2019
So sorry to read of Jim's passing.
Our thoughts and prayers to the Byrns family.