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Obituary: Alyssa Byrne

College student

Published: Wednesday, January 9, 2013 at 3:26 p.m.
Last Modified: Wednesday, January 9, 2013 at 3:26 p.m.

Alyssa Byrne, a college student from Petaluma whose body was found Friday in the Tahoe snow, was known for her love of sports and her ability to light up a room with her smile.

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Alyssa Byrne

A 19-year-old aspiring paramedic-firefighter, she apparently set out on New Year's Eve to walk in below-freezing temperatures from a concert to her hotel. Her body was found after a three-day search that sparked an outpouring of community support and national media attention.

Miss Byrne was a student at Santa Rosa Junior College and a hostess at Cattlemens in Petaluma. She graduated from Casa Grande High School in 2011.

She was a standout athlete in several sports, particularly lacrosse. She started playing lacrosse with the Petaluma River Cats in junior high school and she is the only Petaluma girl known to have played for both the Petaluma and Casa Grande teams. She also was an assistant coach last year for the U13 Petaluma River Cats lacrosse team.

She was known for the unbounded energy she brought onto a playing field or into a room. She was a fearless, hilarious and feisty blue-eyed girl who loved her family and her large group of friends, said her mother, Kim Byrne.

“She was always 110 miles an hour,” said Kevin Byrne, Alyssa Byrne's father. She was born so suddenly the doctor and nurses weren't even in the delivery room and her father had to catch her himself, he said.

Her plan was to go to a four-year college where she could continue playing lacrosse and complete her courses to become a paramedic-firefighter. It was something that fit her personality, said her family.

She wanted to do something in the medical field, and the action of responding to emergencies to care for people would be a perfect fit for her, said her family.

“You talk to all her friends and she was the one that doctored them and took care of them,” Kevin Byrne said. “So I think it would fit her perfectly.”

She started playing sports in the third grade and never stopped. Although lacrosse was her favorite, she played baseball, softball and basketball as well.

She was the only girl playing on boys Little League teams until she was 14, helping the Petaluma Giants team win the division title in 2006.

“She was a little girl who wore a baseball cap everywhere she went,” said Kevin Byrne.

In addition to her parents, she is survived by her brother, Gregory Byrne, also of Petaluma; grandparents, Michael Byrne of Novato, Diane and Ashton Hutchins of Novato, Jack and Sandy Miller of Moses Lake Wash., Judy and Arturo Barrera of Concepcion, Texas.

A memorial will be held 10 a.m. Saturday at the Casa Grande High School gym, 333 Casa Grande Road. The family suggests wearing pink clothing.

In lieu of flowers, donations may be sent to the KlaasKids Foundation and the Polly Klaas Foundation.

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