On Tuesday, July 13, 2021, Sheila Byrnes Prince, loving and adored mother, grandmother and great grandmother, died peacefully in her sleep surrounded by family. She was 90 years old.
Sheila was born in Hamilton, Ontario, Canada on April 4, 1931 to Helen Higgins Byrnes and John T. Byrnes. Sheila grew up in Hamilton while spending summers at her favorite place in the world – Lake of Bays in Muskoka, Ontario.
Sheila also spent many summers as a camper and counsellor plying the beautiful northern lakes in her canoe at her beloved Camp Onawa in Muskoka. Sheila attended Dunbarton College in Washington, D.C. where she met Carroll T. Prince, Jr. at neighboring Georgetown University. They married in 1951 in Chevy Chase, Washington, D.C. During the first 10 years of marriage, they lived in Chevy Chase, Md., where children Carla (1952), Carroll III (1954) and Jean (1958) were born. The family moved to Kingston, N.Y., when Sheila’s husband joined IBM’s legal department in 1960. Sheila spent the next 14 years in Kingston, with Terry being born in 1962 and Connie in 1964.
While being a full-time mother of five and homemaker, Sheila worked part-time at Welcome Wagon, earning the wherewithal to take a family vacation to Ireland, England, France and Switzerland in the summer of 1970.
In 1974, the family relocated to Chappaqua, N.Y., where Sheila sold real estate throughout Westchester County, NY, earning the Million Dollar Sales Award, among other accolades.
In 1983, Sheila and the family moved back to the Washington, DC area where she continued to sell real estate in the Great Falls, VA area. After her husband’s retirement in 1989, Sheila and Carroll spent time in North Carolina and Virginia.
After her husband’s death in 2000 (after nearly 50 years of marriage), Sheila relocated to Leawood, KS to be with daughter Connie and her wonderful grandchildren. Sheila volunteered her time the local community, which included teaching Religious Education at the Catholic parish of St. Michael the Archangel.
Sheila loved to travel and explore the world (Paris was her favorite city!). She travelled extensively through Europe, as well as Australia and Asia.
Sheila loved to write, which led her to authoring The Lake of Bays Murders, the first printing of which completely sold out. Plus, Sheila was a master Bridge player and always willing to take on all challengers for a good game of Boggle.
But above all else Sheila treasured Lake of Bays. The one constant in her long and wonderful life was Lake of Bays – her absolute favorite place in the world. For 90 consecutive years, she never missed spending at least part of a summer on Lake of Bays.
Sheila “adored” – her word – all of her children, grandchildren and great grandchildren.
She was a devout Catholic with unwavering faith. She never failed to appreciate all of the beauty and majesty of God’s earth.
In the notes about her obituary that she left behind, Sheila said, “I thank God for my rich and full life.”
Sheila is survived by her five children, nine grandchildren, six great grandchildren, and her beloved nieces and nephews. And Sheila treasured all of the wonderful friends she had throughout her life.
Visitation will be from 5:30 – 7:30 p.m. on Thursday, July 15th at the Johnson County Funeral Chapel, 11200 Metcalf Avenue, Overland Park, KS.
A mass of Christian Burial will be celebrated at 11:00 a.m. at the Church of the Nativity Catholic Church, 3800 W. 119th Street, Leawood, KS. An additional Christian Mass will be held in the Fall of this year at Lake of Bays, to be followed by the burial, exact details to be determined.
In lieu of flowers, donations may be made in Sheila’s name to St. Jude Research Hospital.