Saying Goodbye to Alvin Byrd, Jr.
It is with heavy hearts that we say goodbye to our colleague, mentor and friend, Mr. Alvin Byrd, Jr. Mr. Byrd, or “Godfather” as we affectionately called him, was the Deputy Chief of Staff during Council Member Pollard’s first term, and he became an endeared member of our team. Words cannot truly capture what he meant to each member of the District J staff, but we can say he will be greatly missed.
Born on June 25, 1953, Alvin Byrd was a Houston native who passed away on Nov. 20 at the age of 70. After graduating from Phillis Wheatley High School and attending Texas Southern University, Byrd joined the United States Navy, where he became a shipbuilder by trade in San Diego, CA. and a friend of labor as a member of the Iron Workers Union and Pipefitters Union.
Upon his return to Houston, Byrd shifted his career focus to social services, working for the Star of Hope Women and Families Shelter, Bread of Life, Inc., Career and Recovery Resources, Inc. S.H.A.P.E. Community Center, Extended After-Care Recovery Center, and the Houston Recovery Campus in Fifth Ward.
He was sensitive to the needs of young people serving as a mentor with My Brother’s Keeper Houston Chapter, board member of Harris County Drug Court Foundation, and as an active member of the Shared Decision-Making Committee (SDMC) for both Atherton Elementary and the Mickey Leland College Preparatory Academy for Young Men.
Expanding his commitment to public service, Byrd served as the first president of the Greater Fifth Ward Super Neighborhood Council, was selected as vice chair of former Mayor Lee Brown’s Commission for People and Disabilities, chaired the Fifth Ward Weed and Seed Initiative Steering Committee and was a member of the Northeast Branch of the American Red Cross.
Because of his extensive ties in the community on multiple levels, Byrd was drafted by several Houston city councilmen to serve on their teams. Byrd was former City Councilman Richard Nguyen’s (District F) chief of staff, former City Councilman Jarvis Johnson’s (District B) constituent services director and current City Councilman Edward Pollard’s (District J) deputy chief of staff.
With a deep understanding of how Houston City Council works, Byrd offered his talents and ran for the District B council seat. Known for giving invaluable advice and counsel, Byrd was often sought by political candidates and elected officials on an ongoing basis.
He leaves to cherish his legacy his soulmate of 20 years, Sandra Martin Polk; five sons, Cory Smith Sr., wife Katina; Alvin Davis, wife Peaches; Dominic Byrd, wife Adreanna; William Polk, wife Sandra; Marcus Ellison, wife Nikki; ten grandchildren; Devan Smith, Kaylin Smith, Cory (CJ) Smith Jr., Anthoney Davis, Darrion Davis, Corey Davis, Donesha Antwine, Sierra Polk, Brianna Polk, Kaleick Pullam; two brothers, Louis E Jones Sr., Ricky Lee; three sisters, Rotella Byrd, Percilla Byrd, Ernestine Portis; as well as a host of nieces, nephews, cousins and so many friends. He was preceded in death by his father, Alvin D. Byrd Sr.; stepmom, Jimmie Lee; one sister, Sandra Ann Washington; two sons, Marcelus Davis and Sam Antwine.
We will miss you, Godfather.