Coast native Byrd Austell Cassibry left this mortal world on December 27th 2022 in Bay St
Louis, Mississippi. It was a life too soon ended. Born on May 17th 1954, she was the
daughter of the late Byrd Austell Thompson Cassibry and Napoleon LePointe Cassibry. Byrd
grew up in Gulfport, attending East Ward Elementary school and graduating from Coast
Episcopal High School in 1972. She attended Converse College in Spartanburg, SC until
launching forth into the “wider world” of the Carolinas and Atlanta. Her adventurous spirit
then led her to California, where she worked in marketing in the San Francisco Bay area.
Byrd subsequently returned home to the Mississippi Gulf Coast. Soon after returning home
she fell in love with Standard Poodles in general and her first poodle “Speed” in particular. It
was a life-long romance. Byrd and Speed managed to survive Hurricane Katrina together in
2005 despite so much loss and destruction all around them. After Katrina Byrd joined her
brother Paul and his family on Cape Cod and worked in the hospitality industry. She lived in
various locations around Cape Cod before being drawn back home to the rebuilt Gulf Coast.
Throughout her life Byrd’s interests were varied, musically ranging from classical music to
the Rolling Stones. She loved to cook and visited antique stores wherever she went. Byrd was
committed to aerobic exercise and also practiced Reiki healing, in time becoming a Reiki
Over the years Byrd developed serious scoliosis and had several major back surgeries. The
surgeries and her exercise commitment helped her stave off many of the restrictions her
condition exacted, but as she grew older the problems with her back continued to worsen,
gradually restricting her movement and independence until her death.
Byrd’s last years were spent with her beloved poodle Gabriel in Bay St. Louis and Waveland.
As Byrd’s conditioned worsened, she entrusted Gabriel to her dear friend Liza Johnson who
was a rock for Byrd throughout her last years. During this difficult and increasingly painful
time, Byrd was cared for by the dedicated nursing staff, the Clergy and members of Trinity
Episcopal Church in Pass Christian and very dear friends. She continued to communicate
with her family and friends regularly until her death. Byrd died peacefully in the early hours
of December 27th, joining her parents, loved ones, and her caring and compassionate Lord.
Byrd is predeceased by her parents and is survived by her brother the Rev. Paul Thompson
and sister-in-law Bunny as well as a niece Sallie and a nephew Ian and his wife Ali and Ian’s
children Laurel and Finn, all of Cape Cod, Massachusetts. She is also survived by many
cousins and their families throughout the southeast and her many friends on the Gulf Coast.
There will be a celebration of her life on March 8, 2023, at 10:00 a.m. where friends may visit
beginning at 9:30 a.m. at Trinity Episcopal Church in Pass Christian with interment of her ashes to
follow in adjoining Live Oak Cemetery next to her mother.
Family and friends would like to extend special thanks to Trinity Episcopal Church and the
Reverend Kyle Bennett and to Mr. A. W. Lang and his fine staff at Bradford-O’Keefe Funeral Home
Bradford-O’Keefe Funeral Home, 15th Street, Gulfport is honored to serve the Cassibry family.