In Remembrance: Wayne Byrd

Since before it even existed, Wayne was the heart and soul of the Arts & Recreation Foundation.

In 1995, former mayor Ed Eilert tapped him to form a nonprofit organization to support the Parks and Recreation Department of the City of Overland Park. Wayne’s initial job was to recruit the first ARFOP directors and members of the Friends advisory boards. With those individuals and those who came after them, he created a force in our community which has impacted hundreds of thousands of individuals who have enjoyed the enhancements, events and programs ARFOP and the Friends groups made and continue to make possible at the Arboretum and Deanna Rose and for the arts.

Always affable, caring, genuine and charming, Wayne was invariably sharing his love of our community with others – as a member of the Board of Directors for 14 years (including 9 years at the helm); at Stems: A Garden Soirée, Rotary and civic events; when visiting with prospective donors; and – quite possibly – at just about any encounter!

Wayne’s dedication to our mission is an inspiration for us all as we follow his example and build on his legacy.