Byron Christopher Shutz, beloved and devoted husband, father and grandfather, age 87, of Kansas City, Missouri died Saturday, April 11, 2015 at home. Visitation will be open to the public on Thursday, April 16, 5:00 to 8:00 p.m. at Overland Park Funeral Chapel, 8201 Metcalf Avenue, Overland Park. A memorial service will be at 11:00 a.m., Friday, April 17, 2015 at the George Hamilton Combs Chapel of Country Club Christian Church, 6101 Ward Parkway, Kansas City, Missouri. The family will receive friends following the service. Private internment will take place in the Christopher-Shutz family plot at Forest Hill Cemetery. In lieu of flowers, the family suggests contributions in memory of Byron C. Shutz to the Friends of Arrow Rock, Inc., P.O. Box 124, Arrow Rock, Missouri 65320 or to the Boy Scouts of America, Heart of America Council, 10210 Holmes Road, Kansas City, MO 64131 for the H. Roe Bartle Reservation camping program.
In 1956, Byron met Marilyn Ann Tweedie of Jefferson City, Missouri, daughter of William R. Tweedie and Adelaide Schott Tweedie and, in 1957, became her cherished husband.
Born February 16th, 1928, Byron was the son of Maxine Christopher Shutz and Byron Theodore Shutz. Maternal grandparents were Sue Hargis Christopher and Max A. Christopher. Paternal grandparents were Milla Auman Shutz and George E. Shutz (who died in 1918). An older sister, Eleanor Christopher Shutz, predeceased Byron in death at age five in 1931 and a younger sister, Laura Shutz Cray, in February of 2015.
A proud Eagle Scout, Byron was also a Warrior in the Tribe of Mic-O-Say honor organization at the H. Roe Bartle Scout Reservation near Osceola, Missouri. He graduated in 1945 from Shattuck School (now Shattuck-St. Mary’s) a college preparatory school founded in 1868 in Faribault, Minnesota, where an inspiring mentor and his wife encouraged Byron’s love of literature and writing.
Byron received a Bachelor of Arts degree from the University of Kansas where he was a member of the Kansas Alpha Chapter of Phi Kappa Psi fraternity. He served in the United States Air Force from 1950 to 1953, achieving the rank of First Lieutenant with the Deputy Chief of Staff-Comptroller, Headquarters, Headquarters Command, Bolling Air Force Base, Washington, D.C.
Byron was a mortgage banker and realtor. In 1953 he joined the mortgage banking department of Herbert V. Jones & Company in Kansas City of which he later became a partner. In 1973 he founded The Byron Shutz Co., a real estate and mortgage-banking firm of which he was president. He was a former director and officer of the Real Estate Board of Kansas City, Missouri and a member of the American Institute of Real Estate Appraisers (MAI). He served on the Board of Governors and was a regional vice president of the Mortgage Bankers Association of America and was a member of the Association’s Mortgage Bankers Legion, which recognized outstanding participation in the leadership of the Association.
Because of his commitment to excellence and equity in education, Byron was elected and served, in 1970, as an at-large member of the Board of Directors of the School District of Kansas City, Missouri. He proposed consideration of an extended school-year plan to better utilize school resources and improve teacher pay. With great joy, Byron also served as a chairman of the Board of Governors of the Kansas City Art Institute, then as a chairman of the UMKC Trustees, a major support organization for the University of Missouri-Kansas City; there, he established what will be known as the Marilyn T. and Byron C. Shutz Lecture Fund in the College of Arts and Sciences at the University. He was a former director and chairman of the Center for Business Innovation, sponsored by the University of Missouri-Kansas City and funded by the State of Missouri to encourage and assist entrepreneurship, as well as a trustee of Midwest Research Institute and of Pembroke-Country Day School (now the Pembroke-Hill School) and a former director of Boy Scouts of America Heart of America Council. Particularly important to Byron was funding the four-year college education of young friend, a student from Senegal who, with Byron’s and Charles Gusewelle’s help, earned his B.S. from Rockhurst College.
Byron served as a former member of the board of director of Business Men’s Assurance Company of America, Traders National Bank of Kansas City, Faultless Starch-Bon Ami Co., First American Financial Corporation, and Rothschild & Sons, Inc. of Oklahoma City. He was a co-trustee of the Byron T. Shutz Foundation, a charitable trust founded in 1950 by his father. Byron was a member or former member of the Kansas City Country Club, the University Club, Kansas City Club, Mercury Club (of which he served as president), Vanguard Club, The Florida Yacht Club of Jacksonville, Florida and the Ocean Reef Club of Key Largo, Florida.
When their children were young, Byron and Marilyn owned a wooden-hulled Matthews cruiser at the Lake of the Ozarks in mid-Missouri. They later acquired a motor yacht on Cape Cod, Massachusetts and began 17 years of cruising the East Coast of the United States with Byron as pilot and his wife and children as crew. In 1979 they acquired a boat located in Port Clinton, Ohio where the boat had been built. Crossing Lake Erie into Ontario, Canada they entered the Erie Canal and followed the canal eastward to the Hudson River and from there south to the city of New York and on to New England. They cruised the Eastern Seaboard from Maine throughout New England, Chesapeake Bay, the Carolinas, Florida, and the Florida Keys and the Bahamas.
In his mid-sixties, Byron renewed an interest in writing short fiction. He published a collection of his stories titled Pungo River Passage and Other Stories. He conceived and underwrote the installation of a historic monument in Kansas City Parks and Recreation’s Migliazzo Park at 119th Street Terrace and Pennsylvania. The thirteen-acre park was once a part of the farm of about 460 acres bought in 1854 by his maternal great-great-grandfather, Marcus Gill, a Kentuckian, adjoining the pioneer village of New Santa Fe, Missouri.
Byron was greatly interested in researching, recording, and interpreting his family’s history from as early as the mid-1700s. He wrote or compiled 160 documents about his ancestors and other subjects of interest to him. He was a great-great-grandson of Joseph Collins Christopher and America Bryant Christopher, early Missouri settlers who in the early 1850s lived on a farm near Pleasant Hill, Missouri.
With the invaluable participation of his wife, Marilyn, he restored a family cemetery in Carroll County, Maryland in use from 1819 until 1876. The cemetery is located on the remaining acreage of a farm once owned by his immigrant ancestor, Peter Baile, who came to America as a child about 1753 and became a successful farmer. The stone house built by Baile and his sons about 1792 remains in use today.
At Powell Gardens east of Kansas City, Byron funded the three-mile Byron Shutz Hiking and Nature Trail. At Arrow Rock, Missouri, Byron in 1990 gave his Christopher Collection of Early Missouri Firearms to Friends of Arrow Rock, Inc. The collection of about thirty antique firearms had been given to him when he was eleven years old by his maternal grandfather, Max A. Christopher.
Byron was a third generation member of Country Club Christian Church and a fifth generation member of the Christian Church-Disciples of Christ whose early beginnings were in Kentucky. He also funded the Sue Hargis and Max A. Christopher Fund originally established by his grandparents for the benefit of Country Club
Survivors include his wife, Marilyn Tweedie Shutz of Kansas City, Missouri; his daughter, Eleanor S. Gaines of Scottsdale, AZ; his son, Byron Christopher Shutz, Jr. and his son’s wife, Susan Ische Shutz, of Redmond, WA; his son, Collin Reid Shutz of Kansas City, MO; his daughter, Allison S. Moskow, of Norwich, VT; and his daughter, Lindley Anne Baile Shutz and her husband, Dr. Michael T. Lynch, of Concord, NH.
Also surviving are eleven grandchildren whom he greatly loved and who greatly loved him back: Tweedie Ariadne Gaines, Ebersole Christopher Gaines, Byron Benton Shutz, Risa Louise Shutz, Zachary Abraham Moskow, Jacob William Moskow, Ava Jean Moskow, Katherine Adelaide Lynch, Eleanor Baile Cooper Lynch, Charles Townsend Lynch III, and Christopher Glover Lynch.
Survivors from Kansas City also include his sister, Susanne Christopher Shutz, and his niece, Laura Sloan, her husband, Peter and their children.
His family wishes to thank his caretaker, Tisa Washington, for her compassionate service. Please offer condolences at www.overlandparkchapel.com.