She was the mother of two daughters, the grandmother of six, and the great-grandmother of six. One of her grandchildren, Jon Michael Moore, died. The family is asking that in lieu of flowers, donations be made to the Jon Michael Moore Trauma Center at West Virginia University.
She received many honors. Members of the West Virginia Society of Washington, D.C., chose her as "West Virginia Daughter of the Year" in 1990, and she was named "West Virginia's Mother of the Year" in 1999.
The Erma Byrd Gallery at the University of Charleston is named for her, as well as scholarships like the Erma Byrd Scholarships at Marshall University.
Her death brought many statements of condolence, including one by U.S. Senator Jay Rockefeller who has known the Byrds for decades.
"I am deeply saddened by the passing of Erma Byrd this evening," Rockefeller said Saturday. "For nearly 69 years, Erma stood by her husband's side. She was an ever present and constant source of support for Senator Byrd in public and in private. Never a day went by that she didn't share in his joy and honor to serve the great people of West Virginia.
"Erma truly was God's gift to Senator Byrd, and now she will keep watch over him from heaven.
"Sharon and I, and our entire family, mourn Erma's passing, and we join all West Virginians in praying for the Byrd family."
When the Byrds celebrated their 65th wedding anniversary, Byrd said of his wife, "Erma and I are complete and whole, a total that is more than the sum of its parts. In my life, Erma Ora Byrd is the diamond. She is a priceless treasure, a multifaceted woman of great insight and wisdom, of quiet humor and common sense."Staff writer Paul J. Nyden and The Associated Press contributed to this article. To contact staff writer Susan Williams, use e-mail or call 348-5112.