Greetings everyone. My name is Dennis Malcolm Byron and have been fortunate to contribute to Lifestyle Publications for more than two years covering automobiles, travel, interesting people, shooting covers, and every so often disclosing the wonders of beer under my alias Ale Sharpton. When I happened to invite my father, Dennis Milton Byron, to one of our magazine’s celebratory functions, the staff really gravitated towards him—especially editor, Sue Collins and publisher, Jim Newman. For this June issue, they asked if I could share a few words about him. This was a no-brainer and I was happy to oblige.
My father—a son of Jamaican descendants who set up shop literally in the Bronx, New York, (they had the Byron Catering Company)—was raised with the value of family, hard work, honesty and giving. Throughout the years, he applied these attributes to everything he did, resulting in attending four colleges including the University of Albuquerque, Syracuse, Ithaca College and Cornell University, taking courses that would prepare him for a successful career in philanthropy, consulting and fundraising (which he popularly terms “friendraising”). To flourish in this business, he had to make strong contacts, meet amazing people, travel extensively, and exude his vibrant personality, while most importantly providing his family the best experiences he could afford alongside his late wife and the best mother on earth, Brenda.
Because of my parents, my three siblings Rashad, Lamont, Simone and I got to see so much of the world. I am the oldest of the quartet, so let’s just say, a handful early on. I received the most discipline and in many ways, the most attention. I eventually utilized these experiences in seeing the struggles my father endured, having lived in extremely modest accommodations to large homes in some of the finest neighborhoods. I also learned success comes from practicing the simple things in life, from always shaking hands with a tight grip to being yourself, learning to speak up, treating everyone as an equal, accepting adversity and dealing with it, and simply loving life. This led me to follow in his footsteps, attending Cornell University, networking, and hitting the ground running, developing the courage to explore what I am passionate about. I owe so much of my drive, charisma and business mind to my father. And I am proud to have the same name (although we can be “Menaces” when we want to). A trip to Thailand as a graduation present was our most bonding moment, and since then, I became more open to whatever came my way. Ultimately, I thank God for him.
I want to thank the great people of BuckHaven and Perimeter North Lifestyle magazine, including Sue and Jim for providing me the opportunity to share this with you. I ask that if you have the chance, you give your father a hug for everything he has done for you. I will do the same, along with a firm grip that made me the man I am today.