Joseph Benjamin Byland, born December 9, 1924, in Orlando, Florida, passed away peacefully at his home in Medford, Oregon, Sunday, December 30, 2012. He was 88 and his daughters, Linda Duty, of St. Augustine, Florida and Holly Frish, of Apopka, Florida were at his side. Joseph was born to Guy Bernard and Charlotte Adeline Ballard. He suffered from respiratory and heart problems for the last couple of years and during the last couple of months he continued to get worse.
Joe, as he was called throughout most of his life, joined the Marines in 1942 when he was 15 and served in the World War II Asiatic Pacific Theater from January 1944 to September 1944. He was wounded June 17, 1944, while participating against the enemy on the island of Saipan in the Mariannas. He was awarded the Purple Heart Medal August 11, 1944. PFC Byland was a rifle sharpshooter and proud to serve his country. He was honorably discharged August 13, 1945, at MB Naval Air Station in Jacksonville, Florida. He had four older brothers who were also serving in the war at the same time, each in a different branch of the military. Many years later, the brothers learned that the oldest brother, George, was on a naval ship off the island of Saipan when Joe's battalion landed and when he was wounded. Miraculously, all five brothers returned safely to their parents in Florida. Their father, Guy Bernard Byland, served in World War I, their grandfather served in the Civil War, and four of Joe's great-grandchildren served in the military, two in the Navy and two in the Army. He served his community at the VFW and other military organizations serving twice as Commander.
He contributed to many charities over the years was a fantastic bowling champion locally and in the Pro-Am tournaments throughout his life. He loved to garden, fish, and help others and was very creative when it came to solving problems or making things work. Roller skating was a big part of his life and he shared that with his daughters as they were growing up.
Survivors include his two daughters; nine grandchildren; 25 great-grandchildren; and his sweetheart of 19 years, Bernie Thoreson. He is preceded in death by his parents; his former wives, Dorothy Bond and Grace Garrett; and a grandson, Justin Frish, who served in the Navy.
A Marine honor guard memorial service will be held Tuesday, January 8, 2013, at Eagle Point National Cemetery in Eagle Point, Oregon at 2:00 pm. A special Marine detachment out of Springfield, Oregon, will present the honors and flags to the family assisted by two grandsons, Shawn Yoder and Joel Yoder, both of whom serve in the Army National Guard. Another grandson, Roman Yoder III, will conduct the service and dedicate the gravesite.
In lieu of flowers, the family has requested donations be made in Joseph Byland's name to the Wounded Warriors at www.woundedwarriorproject.org where there is a link for donations.
Sincere thanks to Asante Hospice, Asante Rogue Regional Medical Center, the VA Clinic and Conger-Morris Funeral Home for their wonderful support in helping us care for and honor our father.