Tribute to a Lost Friend: Byron Card

In the wee hours of Tuesday morning, July 18, our dear friend Byron Card took his own life in a park in Spokane. The circumstances that led to this act are still fuzzy, and everyone that knew him is in a state of sadness and shock.

Byron was truly one of the most delicate, gentle people I have ever had the pleasure of knowing. One of his worst fears was offending someone, and he would go out of his way to preface even the vaguest of off-color commentary with apologies. He was a quite shy at times, always proper, always poised, sensitive and kind-of easily embarrassed but able to laugh it off. He was refreshingly free of games and bullshit. He was a small-town boy deep inside and no matter how debauched things got, he could never shed his charming layer of innocence and naivety. He would often find amazement in things that most people would deem as mundane and overlook. He was one of the only people I’ve known who made it into his 30’s without ever sitting behind the wheel of a car – I guess he just never felt the need to get a driver’s license. Other people’s needs seemed to always take priority above his own, and he was glad to oblige. Byron was the quiet mousey type at the party who would suddenly become the center of attention, instigating everyone to follow his example and do something a little naughty.

His skills as a hairstylist were legendary in CDA. It was something he really enjoyed doing, and it showed in his work. From men’s buzz cuts to women’s glamorous up-dos to lesbian mullets, he worked them all with panache and his customers were always happy. So many nights, someone would sashay into the bar proudly showing off their fabulous new Byron ‘do. Recently he had taken his career to the next level with a gig at a chi-chi salon in downtown Spokane, and by all reports he loved his new position. In the last couple of days, I’ve heard several friends say they’ll never cut their hair again now that he’s gone to that big fabulous salon in Heaven.

Byron was never purposely flamboyant, but was cursed with effeminacy. He was out and proud as possible, but ultimately wanted to just blend in and be regular guy. He didn’t dress outrageously, usually preferring a pair of snug Levis and a t-shirt and those legendary, ever-present penny loafers. (God, the shoes! The shoes we loved to hate, god bless 'em! They ought to be bronzed – we can’t let them end up at Goodwill or something terrible like that.) Unfortunately, his gentle and effeminate nature was apparently a threat to the masculinity of many insecure North Idahoan assholes. I’ll never understand why Byron always seemed to get the rough end of this particular stick more than the rest of us. He was often harassed and taunted, even mugged on the street once simply because of the way he walked or spoke. There was the time he rudely called "faggot" and was pushed violently off the stage at the club while dancing and minding his own business. His reaction was to not react but to simply vacate, never coming back with a well-deserved “fuck off”, never throwing a punch or scratching out eyeballs. He was above all that, choosing to remain poised and ignore them. Sadly, you could tell that it did sometimes bother him in a core way, eventually choosing to avoid a lot of public appearances entirely as to not end up in a potential situation. In the last few years, Byron had seemed to have resigned himself to be a homebody, leaving the scene to suffer from his absence. Again, right now all we have to go by is speculation as to why he chose to end his life in such a tragic manner. What we can be sure of is that delicate Byron was suffering from extreme heartbreak. Heartbreak is the bleakest of afflictions and it often seems there is no way out from under its dark spell. Indeed, there are two ways: one is simply the passage of time and the other is the unfortunate way Byron chose. I have felt heartbreak in many different forms but it’s hard for me to fathom a broken heart so bad that it would lead to the decision to end it all. His was such a huge heartbreak that it's as if it shattered when he died, creating dozens of new heartbreaks in the hearts of those who loved and cared about him. Normally, I’m not remotely religious, and maybe I’ve read too many metaphysical books, but I’d like to believe in the idea of fate and that perhaps we are all pre-destined to die in a manner that we choose before we’re even born. Some of us are here only long enough to serve our purpose, or learn our lesson, or serve as a lesson to others, or whatever it may be, then we’re gone, “crossed over” as they say and then perhaps we return to live out an entirely different scenario, and the cycle repeats. It’s too early to tell what the ultimate reason or purpose was for Byron’s relatively short stay here in this lifetime, but I know in my bones that at the very least his positive light will forever shine in the memories of those who knew him.

I hope it's not in poor taste to end this tribute with a Blondie quote, but I know Byron would appreciate it: “Die young, stay pretty." In other words an early death brings eternal youth, and we will continue on aging through the years, suffering the ravages of time and tide, while dear Byron will forever remain in our minds pert, gorgeous, and fabulous as ever.

PS You can read Brian Hardison's thoughts and memories of Byron here.

If you knew Byron and would like to pay your respects and share memories, a memorial is being held at Mik-n-Mac's on Sunday, July 20 at 2PM.

Here it is August and I have just heard that Byron has passed away. I am just so sad for him that he felt the only way to feel better was to end it all. I have had that horrid lump in the back of my throat all day and just could not imagine the pain that he must have been in. What a truely amazing guy though, I always felt a little better about myself after seeing him and I will miss our Ashlee Simpson bashing while skimming a People magazine.

Here is to a truley amazing person, I pray that you are at peace.
That is the saddest thing I've ever heard...What a loss! It's so sad when you leave a town that you lose touch of your friends. Specially someone as special as that cute boy was. Thanks for all the good times Byron,,The Duke will never forget you !!
sorry I have lost touch with most people that hung around my karaoke show at the time.. it's amazing how much time moves so fast..
I'm really sad to hear this about Byron. Everything you said about him is true Patrick, he is one of the most gentle people I have ever know as well. I lost touch with alot of you when my karaoke days ended too, and i moved to Spokane. I wish I had known he lived here. I had such good laughs with him and told him all my worries like a bartender while he was doing my hair.(which was always fabulous I might add) He always listened and gave advice which made me feel better. I even had the privledge of having him as a short term roommate while I was pregnant with my second son(1997-98 time period) and he was so nice doing things for me and caring for me.Thats the kind of person he was and I will always remember that. ~Shannon
I called yesterday to schedule my appt with Byron and found out he was gone...He's been doing my hair for years and I'm still shocked and disturbed and heart broken. Thank you for your tribute - I was comforted by reading it. He was a kind, gentle person and will be greatly missed.
i am one of byron's sisters, i appreciate everyone's love for byron and he will truley be missed. it's already a new year and i still can't believe i'll never see him again, it's still not a reality. love ya byron,love your sister
I am truly saddened to find out about Byron's death. I always felt he was misunderstood by most people. He was very kind.
It has been a long time since I thought about Byron but earlier today, I started getting nostalgic for the summer I spent hanging out with him, Brian, Chris and others at Mic-n-Macs. I hadn't heard about his passing until I searched for him and came across this.
I don't know what to say except that I am terribly sorry to hear that he is gone. The world needs more people like him.
Thank you for writing such kind words about him.
A few years have passed. I still dread each day with out him. He was the one true love of my life. I broke his heart because he broke mine. An end to a relationship was necessary, but not an end to his life. All Patrick said is right, I didn't know that not forgiving could take a life. I harbor much of the blame, and his family made sure to make me feel like I should. I do not know where his body rests. I couldn't attend a funeral, he was my world. I only believed in him till that moment when things fell apart. I still want to see or say goodbye and I can't.

I love you Byron, I always will, and your demise will follow me to my own grave. I never thought this past would be my future. I miss you so much. No one can compare.

I'm sorry to let you down by forgetting my belief in you in a moment of anger. I really tried to off myself incidentally for a month or more after, maybe I continue to do so.

So much has happened you would of loved-like Fergies Solo album, the newest BEP, and gay rights progress.

Love ME
Thank you so much for posting this story. Byron was and still is my favorite uncle and we were very close. I miss him so much. I was just 13 when he died. I'm going to get a tattoo in his honor soon. I wanted to get one of his dragons but unfortunately we can't find his drawings. If anyone could help it would be greatly and deeply appreciated. My email is buubear93@hotmail.com
January 23rd would've been Byrons 40th birthday. He would've been having some sort of meltdown at the thought of being 40. To this day I can still picture him clicking around the house in his favorite penny loafers, perfectly tailored jeans and his favorite black tank top. His hair would've been perfect but knowing him he would've found something wrong with it. I was thinking about Halloween and what he would've dressed up as and I immediately thought Gaga. He would've adored her. I miss him so much and I can't believe it's been almost 6 years since that terrible day. I hope to see him again one day at the Salon in the Sky. Love you Uncle Byron♥
Love, B
I would love to see some of his dragon-drawings/paintings again. Please, if you have accumulated any of them in digital form or otherwise, send me a copy! I will pay the postage.

email: jeritadamson@gmail.com

Jerit Adamson Fourman
10043 Wagner Creek Rd
Talent, OR 97540
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