Paula Byrne, longtime Vail resident, passes away |

Paula Byrne, longtime Vail resident, passes away

Special to the Daily
Vail, CO Colorado
Special to the DailyPaula Byrne

We are saddened to say that Paula Byrne passed away Wednesday. We are all greatly diminished by the loss of this gentle and compassionate person. Paula lived a wonderful life, raising her two children, Shawn and Nicole, to be kind, honest adults with a positive outlook on life. She was loved by so many people, not only her family and friends but also by the Vail community and the many doctors and caregivers with whom she became acquainted over the years.

Paula’s victories have been remarkable over the past 14 years. As many know, she received a full bone marrow transplant on Sept. 5, 13 years ago. Her gracious manner yet iron will to survive amazed all around her. Her struggle with cancer over the last few years has proven that she can beat the odds again and again. From the Fred Hutchison Hospital to Rocky Mountain Cancer Center to MD Anderson, Paula has astounded the medical community. Even through a critical diagnosis and multiple intensive care visits, Paula bounced back with a joyous smile and positive attitude each time. Cristina Byrne, who has been her long-term caregiver, dear friend and medical advocate for the past years, always remarked that she has never met a person who had as wonderful an attitude and could endure difficult situations without complaint.

In Vail, Paula is survived by Shawn Byrne, a college freshman this fall; Nicole Byrne, a rising tennis star and junior at Vail Mountain School; Lorina Dehelean Byrne, an eighth-grader at Vail Mountain School; and Cristina and Ron. Paula’s life is to be greatly celebrated, as her resilience and determination to live allowed her to raise her children and give them the same wonderful disposition and strong character.

A recent birthday was so meaningful for Paula, as her close friends held a surprise catered luncheon and sisters Renae Bell and Wendy Wurmlinger flew in to help celebrate. Paula was also able to visit with her brothers, Gary, Brian and Neal Wurmlinger and their families early this summer as we all watched Vail begin to bloom again. She is survived by her mother, Marie Wurmlinger, and many friends in Michigan.

Vail is a very special place because of its community. Many locals remember when Paula was diagnosed with leukemia 14 years ago and the community held drives for bone marrow donors so that she could survive. Although no match was found from within the Vail community, over 900 possible donors were added to the bone marrow directory and many have provided the gift of life to others.

In lieu of flowers, the family would love to see this gift be given to others by donating to: My Friends Care Cancer Fund, 148 South Main Street, Suite 101, Mount Clemens, MI 48043;

Paula Byrne passed to God’s hands peacefully Wednesday evening at the Byrne home on Forest Road holding hands and in prayer with Shawn, Nicole, Lorina, Cristina and Ron. Friends and wonderful caregivers Nancy and Svetlana were also present in love. As is tradition in Romania, Cristina lit a special candle for Paula to see the light to ascend. With great love from all of the those around, her spirit found peace. Through her memory we have been greatly enriched. She will be missed but not forgotten. The Byrne Family.

Services will be held at the Vail Interfaith Chapel at 6 p.m. Sunday. A reception will follow at the Sonnenalp to celebrate and honor Paula’s beautiful life.

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