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Byrd, wife to be reburied in W.Va.

July 6, 2010 at 11:55 AM   |   Comments

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WASHINGTON, July 6 (UPI) -- Sen. Robert C. Byrd, and his wife will return to West Virginia for the last time for reburial once a location is determined, family members said.

A funeral for Byrd, who died last week, was conducted Tuesday at Memorial Baptist Church in Arlington, Va., followed by a graveside service at Columbia Gardens Cemetery, also in Arlington, CNN reported.

Byrd's wife, Erma, who died in March 2006, also is interred in Columbia Gardens Cemetery. Byrd, the longest-serving member of Congress, died June 28 in a Washington-area hospital at the age of 92. He had been in failing health for some time.

The family said the couple eventually will be disinterred and reburied in West Virginia once family members settle on a site, CNN said.

Byrd was born Cornelius Calvin Sale Jr. in North Wilkesboro, N.C., Nov. 20, 1917. His mother died when he was 10 and his father abandoned him. He was reared in Sophia, a southern West Virginia coal camp, by an aunt and uncle, Vlurma and Titus Byrd, who renamed him Robert Carlyle Byrd.

The nine-term Democratic senator was a walking encyclopedia of the upper chamber's rules and procedures and was known for carrying a copy of the Constitution in his pocket.

Byrd also was known for using his position either as the ranking Democrat or chairman of the Senate Appropriations Committee to steer spending and jobs to the Mountain State, which ranks among the country's poorest.

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