Vicki Hobb of Greenville, S.C., made the trip because her mother, a West Virginia native, could not. Hobb said she grew up knowing about Byrd because of family trips back to West Virginia. Although Hobb appreciates what Byrd has done, she is excited to see what the future holds.
"I respect what he has accomplished for this state," she said. "I also think there is time for new blood and new ideas, too. It's time to pass it on to the next generation."
Quinlan said he met Byrd a few years ago at the National Guard's Camp Dawson, in Preston County, and was impressed by his humility.
"He was just so genuine, it was unbelievable," Quinlan said.
Quinlan credits Byrd's upbringing in Southern West Virginia coal camps with shaping him into the leader he was.
"Now you have to start out with money and power to even have a chance," he said. "He was always here in West Virginia. He knew where his roots were."
Byrd's roots were in Sophia and Stotesbury, small towns near Beckley. Many Sophia residents knew Byrd personally and grew up with him in the coal camps, said Jeffery Pittman, chief of the Sophia City Fire Department, who was on hand for Friday's service.
In Sophia, he said, Byrd is an icon.
"He did a lot for the town; he was a very big advocate for us," Pittman said. "He was loved by the people there. We're going to miss him."
Northward, well away from the Southern coalfields, Byrd also is idolized, said Mineral County Commissioner Cindy Pyles.
"He is everything that a public servant wants to be," she said.
Reach Whitney Burdette at whitney.burde...@wvgazette.com or 304-348-5100.