Philip P. Byham, (87), of Jackson Twp., passed away peacefully on the morning of September 14, 2022. He passed away in the assisted living facility, The Inn at University Village where he has been a resident the past nine months.
Phil was born in Canton, Ohio on September 21, 1934, to Leonard W. & Mary M. (Gerkin) Byham. He grew up with four younger siblings Barbara, Nancy, John, Joan.
In high school he met Mary M. Elias. They fell in love and were married in May 1958. They started a family, complete with five children Christopher, Anne, Michael, Mary Kay, and Jeffrey. As a family they loved camping and football. Being a kind and dependable father was of the utmost importance to Phil and he certainly did not disappoint when it came to wholeheartedly loving his family.
Phil attended Central Catholic High School and graduated in 1953. Entered the US Army in 1954 and served 2 years as an Engineer. After his time in the military, he started his career with Ohio Bell Telephone company where he worked for 36 years retiring in 1992. After a short break he spent the next few years as a consultant to Ohio Bell, then called Ameritech, now known as AT&T. During his career with the phone company Phil also donated his and his families time to The Pioneers of America, a community service organization. In his service to the Pioneers, he worked with disabled children, mainly blind, in what was known as Blind Beeper-Ball so that these children may know what playing sports is all about. After his time consulting, he worked as the Bar & Grill manager of the Massillon Elks #441 for several years. At St. Mary's Parish he was a football coach, Boy Scout Leader, and Men's Club Member.
While Phil has been involved with football, his biggest passion, in 1974 he joined the Jackson Sideliner program. Phil held several positions within the organization: Member, Trustee, President, Head Trustee, and Life Member. Phil took over the football program sales, got the kids involved with selling patron advertisements. Purchased Federal League Champion jackets, upgraded outdated equipment such as game radios and video equipment for the coaching staff. Phil always helped those that needed help by providing equipment that they did not have nor could afford.
Phil Established the Sideliner Scholarship program by funding the program by hosting reverse raffle dinners, investing monies into programs where the money could grow and sustain itself in the long run. This program currently hands out a $1,000 scholarship to a deserving senior within the Jackson High School.
Phil continued his work with the sideliners to the field where he was the adult equipment manager from 1993 to 2016. He has been serving the coaching / training staff with equipment and maintenance of equipment used during practices and games. Phil has been involved in mentoring several hundred young men that have been involved with the Jackson Football Program.
Phil was a member of the following organizations The Massillon Knights of Columbus, Massillon Fraternal Order of Eagles #190, Hall of Fame Luncheon Club, and most recently American Legion Post 44.
Phil is survived by his children, Christopher Byham, Anne (Larry) Massie, Mary Kay (Ty) Wallace, and Jeffrey (Denise) Byham along with 11 Grandchildren, 18 Great-grandchildren.
Phil is preceded in passing by Leonard & Mary Byham (parents), Mary M. Byham (wife), John J. Byham (brother), Nancy Fortney-Eisenbrei (sister), Michael J Byham (son), Laura Byham (daughter-in-law).
Calling hours will be held on Tuesday, September 20, 2022, from 4 to 7 P.M. at Heitger Funeral Home - Jackson Chapel, 5850 Wales Ave. NW, Massillon 44646. A mass of Christian Burial will be held at St. Mary’s Catholic Church, Massillon on Wednesday, September 21, 2022 at 10:30 AM. Burial will follow at Rose Hill Memorial Gardens with military honors.
In lieu of flowers donations may be made to Jackson Sideliners C/O Phil Byham - P.O. Box 36201 Canton, Ohio 44735.
Condolences to the family may be made at www.heitger.com
Heitger Funeral Home 330-830-0148
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Jackson Sideliners Club
P.O. Box 36201, Canton OH 44735