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James F. Byrnes, Jr.

August 9, 1946 ~ June 11, 2020 (age 73)

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James F. Byrnes, Jr. of Colchester passed away peacefully at home with his family by his side on Thursday, June 11th following a valiant and courageous battle with glioblastoma multiforme. He was 73 years old.

Born in Brooklyn, New York on August 9th, 1946, James was the only son of the late James & Frances (Verdonik) Byrnes. He attended Xaverian High School. As a young man, he met and fell in love with Eileen Fuller; the couple married in Brooklyn on September 27th, 1969.

James attended the prestigious Cooper Union in New York City, earning a bachelor’s degree in civil engineering. This was followed by a long and prestigious career with the Connecticut Department of Transportation. Initially hired as an engineering intern in 1968, he moved up through the ranks over the years, holding numerous managerial positions including Director and Bureau Chief, and eventually serving as Commissioner between 2002 and 2004. After retiring from the state, he worked for various engineering consulting firms, making a career of over 40 years as a transportation engineer. In the words of former Department of Transportation Commissioner Emil H. Frankel, he was “truly a transportation ‘Renaissance Man.’”

Other accolades he holds include a master’s degree from the University of Connecticut, as well as participation in Harvard University’s Program for Senior Executives in State and Local Government. He also spent several years serving on the Wetlands Commission in his hometown of Colchester.

Jim, as he was known by those close to him, loved boating, cruising, and travelling around the world with his family and friends. He and Eileen would often spend the winter months at the family condo in West Palm Beach, Florida.

James will be forever loved and always missed by his wife of over 50 years, Eileen of Colchester; his son, Timothy Byrnes of Manhattan, New York; his daughter, Kathleen and her husband, Brian Publicover of Billerica, Massachusetts; as well as numerous extended family members and friends. He is also survived by an eagerly anticipated grandson who will be arriving later this year.

The family would like to personally thank Dr. Ahmad Dahar, Dr. Andrew Salner, Donna Avanecean, and the nurses at Hartford Healthcare for their dedication to James during his illness.

Due to COVID-19, a memorial service will be held at a later date. In lieu of flowers, memorial donations can be made to the Helen and Harry Gray Cancer Center The Aurora McCarthy Funeral Home of Colchester has been entrusted with arrangements. For online condolences, please visit

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Helen and Harry Gray Cancer Center
85 Retreat Avenue, Hartford CT 06106

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