HONORING JONATHAN BYRD; Congressional Record Vol. 155, No. 129
(Extensions of Remarks - September 14, 2009)

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[Extensions of Remarks]
[Page E2254]
From the Congressional Record Online through the Government Publishing Office [www.gpo.gov]

                         HONORING JONATHAN BYRD


                            HON. MIKE PENCE

                               of indiana

                    in the house of representatives

                       Monday, September 14, 2009

  Mr. PENCE. Madam Speaker, I rise today with deep sorrow to mark the 
passing of a true friend of the state of Indiana.
  Jonathan Byrd will forever be regarded as a savvy businessman who 
grew a family-owned cafeteria into the world's largest banquet facility 
and owned a successful racecar team. But it was his generosity and deep 
faith that will cast Jonathan Byrd's most lasting legacy.
  Jonathan Byrd often told people as a teenager that he would be a 
millionaire by the age of 25. Operating Kentucky Fried Chicken 
restaurants in central Indiana in the 1970's and 80's, Jonathan did in 
fact become a millionaire in his first quarter century on Earth.
  However, those closest to Jonathan understood that those millions 
were not for himself, but instead a means in which to carry out the 
will of the Lord. He funded many Christian schools, financed mission 
trips, and helped put more than 500 million copies of Scripture in the 
hands of people around the world.
  Millions of people have dined at Jonathan Byrd's Cafeteria since it 
opened in 1988, but this enterprise wasn't the only business venture 
Jonathan Byrd found success in.
  He Founded Byrd Enterprises of Arizona--their products include 
Intercontinental, Hilton and Marriott Hotels. Jonathan Byrd's Rare 
Books and Bibles quickly became the nation's largest dealer, importer, 
and restorer of ancient Bibles and theology books under his 
  Like many Hoosiers, Jonathan had a passion for auto racing that led 
him to form his own race team. True to form, Jonathan applied his 
business sense to his race team and of the 16 cars that he entered in 
the Indianapolis 500, he is credited with 7 top-ten finishes.
  He was also blessed with a wonderful family: wife Virginia of 35 
years; two sons, Jonathan and David; and many grandchildren. My prayers 
will be with them in the days and weeks ahead. Though Jonathan Byrd is 
no longer with us, we can all take comfort knowing that the Byrd legacy 
will live on because of the example he leaves behind.
  Jonathan Byrd personified the American Dream. Though he was a well 
known businessman, Jonathan was guided by strong principles, anchored 
by his faith and had a servant's heart.
  Let that be the standard to which we all aspire.