Cover photo for R. Byrne Vickers's Obituary
1932 R. 2022

R. Byrne Vickers

November 2, 1932 — January 27, 2022

Richard Byrne (“Byrne”) Vickers, 89, died Jan. 27, 2022, in Wichita, Kansas after a decade-long journey with Alzheimer’s. He was born on Nov. 2,1932, to J.A. (“Jack”) Vickers and Helen Elizabeth (“Nell”) Vickers in Wichita, Kansas – the sixth of their eight children. Byrne attended Blessed Sacrament Elementary School in Wichita and Cascia Hall in Tulsa for high school. After high school, Byrne first attended Santa Clara University in California and later Oklahoma State University, where he graduated with a B.S. in Animal Husbandry.

On December 31 1958, he married Rebecca Anne (“Becky”) Hunzicker of Oklahoma City.

They had four daughters in quick succession: Beth, Laurie, Lisa, and Trish, and also had

little “doggie daughters,” a number of beloved Westies throughout the years, most recently

Molly and Gracie. Although Byrne worked for many years with Harris Burns Insurance

Company (and later retired with IMA Insurance), his true passions were his faith, his family,

and sports. He was an active golfer and loved watching football and basketball as well as

traveling to many NCAA March Madness rounds throughout the years with friends and

family. Additionally, he and Becky enjoyed traveling immensely and explored much of the

US and Europe. He especially loved trips to Colorado and Montana in the US and to the

UK, France, and Italy in Europe. Byrne served on the boards of Big Brothers, Catholic

Charities, and the Catholic Care Center for many years. He faithfully donated blood

monthly at the Red Cross during much of his adult life. In addition, he delivered Meals on

Wheels to the homebound during his retirement years.

Those are all salient facts, but what truly describes the measure of a life? Quality relationships,

special times with those you hold dear, impacting lives for good. We want to pay tribute to our

dearest husband and father, Byrne Vickers. Each of us is missing him and grieving the loss of

the man we knew and loved in our own way. Each of us was touched by him in very particular

and unique ways, but all of us were touched by his love and dear heart! Byrne was a man of

integrity, a man with a generous and kind and loving spirit, a man with a funny sense of humor.

Quiet. Understated. Sometimes mischievous, often ornery!

Most of all, Byrne was a man of incredibly strong faith, which was his guiding light and his

“rock” throughout his life. Byrne attended Catholic schools, and was particularly supported in

his life by his relationships with the priests and his friends from Cascia Hall in Tulsa where he

went to high school. Father Spielman was his mentor, and Byrne maintained a close friendship

with him throughout his life. Byrne lost his own father at age 8, and these priests filled such an

important, essential fatherly role for him always. Summers spent at Camp Holy Cross and The

Broadmoor also made a significant impact as to who Byrne was to become.

Along with his faith, Byrne was deeply devoted to his family - to his beloved wife, Becky; to his

four “girls” Beth, Laurie, Lisa, and Trish; to his nine grandchildren; to his mom and siblings while

they were living; and to his extended family, especially his many nieces and nephews. Byrne’s

primary vocation was taking care of his family. Much like St. Joseph, he had a servant’s heart.

No matter what, he was there. Always there. Supportive, generous, quiet but connected, with a

big love that he didn’t always know how to express, but there nonetheless. His steadfast

presence, encouragement, and support spoke volumes.

Byrne’s great care and kindness extended well beyond his family and encompassed his friends

as well as those he encountered on the street. He would always go out of his way to help

someone in need. Driving into the mountains of Colorado, snow falling thickly and blanketing the

highway, a person whose car had broken down - Byrne stopped and gave assistance. A woman

stranded in the Dillons’ parking lot - Byrne gave her a ride home. Years of dedicated delivery of

Meals On Wheels to people confined to their homes. Much like Jesus, who, with unsurpassed

love, was always reaching out to help those in need, Byrne consistently walked the faith he


Right up there with faith, family, and friends for Byrne was golf! He was an avid golfer his entire

life and enjoyed golf trips with his brothers for many years. He spent untold happy hours on

fairways and greens at the Wichita Country Club, Flint Hills National Golf Club, and Castle

Pines as well as at a number of other courses around the US and in the UK. A caddy at

Wichita Country Club once said of Byrne, “Always a gentleman!” That very much captures the

essence of Byrne’s character and demeanor. Byrne endeavored to pass his love of golf on to

his four daughters, but failed miserably; however, he was much more successful in passing his

enthusiasm on to his son-in-laws and grandchildren!

Without a doubt, one of Byrne’s great legacies was his toffee-making. He was known far and

wide for it, and it was much prized and coveted by those who received it at Christmas each

year. Spouses were known to hide it from each other or to dole it out parsimoniously over the

course of several months to make it last longer. His daughter, Beth, and niece, Corie, continue

the toffee-making tradition.

Byrne was a storyteller at heart and loved regaling listeners with numerous humorous

anecdotes from his past. He also loved sharing words of wisdom with almost anyone who

would listen. Naturally, one of Byrne’s favorite maxims was connected to golf: ”Keep it in the

fairway! And if you get out of the fairway, get your ass back in there as fast as you can!” He

thought it was excellent guidance for both golf and for life. Another life principle he loved to

share, particularly with his grandchildren, was “the 7 ‘P’s’ of West Point:” “Proper prior

planning prevents piss poor performance!” Byrne absolutely lived by this principle and put it

to good use through the meticulous planning of their homes in Wichita and in the Flint Hills as

well as in plotting numerous trip itineraries. Another lasting-legacy that Byrne inadvertently

handed down was the “colorful” and extensive vocabulary to his grandchildren from an early

age, much to the dismay of their parents!

Some might say that Byrne “suffered” from Alzheimer’s in his later years. Although the disease

presented many challenges, we also witnessed a return to childlike wonder and joy and good

humor. He was content to gaze up at the clouds in the sky and sing “Blue skies … nothing but

blue skies,” or spend time out in the garden enchanted by nature, or simply watch birds flying

overhead, and take such delight in the beauty of life around him, a wide smile of gratitude and

joy lighting up his face! We all marveled with him these last number of years at the miracle of

the “glowing hour,” when the setting sun, without fail, illuminated a statue of Mary at the end of

the garden each evening at about 7. The statue, from his childhood home at Vickridge, was a

special reminder of his own mother.

One of Byrne’s most special experiences in these last, more challenging, years was when

Terrylee “kidnapped” him and took him to the OSU/K-State football game in Manhattan several

years ago. They had a very big adventure! Terry planned every detail of the day with loving

care from the drinks and snacks he had packed in the car, to the special parking pass, to the

private box seats for the game. When they returned home at the end of the day, Dad

remembered very little of what had happened during the day, but his ear-to-ear grin told the

whole story, and he was radiating happiness. And, the photos they took are a lasting reminder

of their perfect day.

Alzheimer’s is often a challenging and heartbreaking experience for the entire family, but during

these last several years, Byrne was incredibly blessed to be the recipient of excellent care and

exceptional kindness from seven extraordinary angels: Cheryl Robinson, Liberty Robinson,

Christy Lane, Aquila Wilson, Lisa Buller, Carla Crockett, and Shirlon Dawson. We also extend

enormous gratitude to Terrylee Littlejohn, Rosie Brooks, Tagen Pacheco, Deano Taverius,

Jackie Cleary, Serafin Torres, and Carmen Dick for unending friendship, continuous support,

and invaluable help. All of those mentioned here are like extended family to us and so very

dear to our hearts!

How does one sum up a life? So many memories we each have! What is undeniable is that

Byrne had “a life well lived!” and profoundly impacted the lives of so many people around him.

We love you so very, very much, Byrne/Dad, and we will miss you even more!!! Let’s go fly a

kite, up to the highest heights!!

Byrne was preceded in death by his parents, John Aldred (“Jack”) and Helen Elizabeth

(“Nell”) Vickers, and siblings:v Helen Clark (Preston); Patricia A. “Pat” Sinclair (Tommy); J.A.

“Jack” (Cally) Vickers, Jr.; Paula M. Petrie (Jack); James W. “Jimmy” Vickers; Robert F.

“Bobby” (Susan) Vickers; and Thomas M. “Tommy” Vickers. He is survived by his wife,

Becky; their daughters, Beth Lockard (Mike), Laurie Vickers, Lisa Hupp (Keith), and Trish

Doerhoff (Dale); grandchildren, Todd Lockard, Austin Lockard (Christine), Elizabeth “Lizzie”

Lockard, Brian Campbell, Aiden Campbell, Ian Campbell, Cashion Hupp, Lillian Rebecca

“Lilly” Hupp, and Ryan Doerhoff (Hannah); and his great-granddaughter, Rowan Doerhoff, due

March 21, 2022 as well as many nieces and nephews and two sisters-in-law, Rhonda Vickers

McClure and JoDee Vickers.

Rosary will be at 6 p.m. on Friday, February 4, 2022, at St. Thomas Aquinas Catholic

Church,1321 N. Stratford Lane, Wichita, Kansas 67206.

Funeral service will be at 10 a.m. on Saturday, February 5, 2022, at St. Thomas

Aquinas Catholic Church,1321 N. Stratford Lane, Wichita, Kansas 67206.

Memorials or donations may be made to Meals on Wheels (Senior Services of Wichita)

or Catholic Charities, Diocese of Wichita.

To order memorial trees or send flowers to the family in memory of R. Byrne Vickers, please visit our flower store.

Service Schedule

Past Services

Recitation of the Holy Rosary

Friday, February 4, 2022

Starts at 6:00 pm (Central time)

St. Thomas Aquinas Catholic Church

1321 N Stratford St, Wichita, KS 67206

Enter your phone number above to have directions sent via text. Standard text messaging rates apply.

Mass of Christian Burial

Saturday, February 5, 2022

Starts at 10:00 am (Central time)

St. Thomas Aquinas Catholic Church

1321 N Stratford St, Wichita, KS 67206

Enter your phone number above to have directions sent via text. Standard text messaging rates apply.


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