Clare M. (Gosnell) Byrnes

1929 ~ 2023 (age 94) 94 Years Old
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Clare Byrnes Obituary


Clare Byrnes


1929 - 2023

     Clare “Gram” Byrnes (nee Gosnell) passed away on December 31, 2023.  Clare was born to Clyde and Ann Gosnell (Dougherty) on June 4, 1929. She grew up in Most Blessed Sacrament Parish and proudly graduated from MBS and West Catholic High School for Girls.  She worked at the Atlantic Refining Company and sang in the Catholic Petroleum Guild, where she met the love of her life, Bobby Byrnes, a jazz pianist and WWII vet who played the organ for the choir at St. Francis DeSales Church. Clare and Bobby bought a home in Clifton Heights and were married just 9 years when Bobby suddenly passed away, leaving Clare to raise their 7 children. She had considered a religious vocation before meeting Bobby and truly believed that raising her children well was answering God’s invitation to love and serve Him. She succeeded. A mostly self-taught librarian who later attended Villanova University, Clare ran the library for Holy Cross School so she could be close while her children attended there. Clare eventually took a position as the executive secretary to the VP of Sales at Sun Chemical and tied in her writing skills and organizational abilities to make her boss shine as a communicator because of her command of composition. She studied theology at St. Joseph's University and was otherwise self-educated by choosing to read thought-provoking books that led her to think more creatively, critically, and strategically. This allowed her to decide where we as a family were, where we wanted to be, and how we would get there. She also made time to quilt, play cards and spend quality time with her friends.  As the matriarch, Gram devoted her life to and is survived by her 7 children, Bob (Meghan), Mary Anne (Bill), John (Lynette), Jim (Barbara), Ed (Mary), Clare (Tom) and Margie (Leo), 22 grandchildren and 16 great-grandchildren. Gram was also predeceased by her granddaughter, Grace, as well as her brothers Clyde, Michael, and Peter. She is survived by her sister Ann Thomson and brother James, as well as many nieces and nephews.

     Relatives and friends are invited to gather Friday, January 5, 2023, at St. Dorothy’s Catholic Church (4910 Township Line Road, Drexel Hill, PA  19026) from 12:00PM to 12:45PM, followed by her Mass of Christian Burial at 1:00 PM. Interment at SS Peter and Paul Cemetery. In lieu of flowers, contributions in Clare’s memory may be made to Beth Israel Lahey Health, Joslin Diabetes Center Office of Philanthropy, 529 Main Street, 4th Floor, Charlestown MA 02129

The Mass will be Live-streamed on the St. Dorothy Parish, YouTube















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