To the editor:
I was so sad and in tears to hear that Mr. Michael Byrnes passed away. On Dec. 20, 2022, I even exchanged several short emails with him. In his first email, he mentioned he had a …
To the editor:
I was so sad and in tears to hear that Mr. Michael Byrnes passed away. On Dec. 20, 2022, I even exchanged several short emails with him. In his first email, he mentioned he had a stroke and was in hospital. He also congratulated my son for his college admission. As always, Mike was just so nice and so kind, even during his last days.
I first met Mike in the fall of 1998 when he retired from the Army and entered the business world. At that time, Mike was the chief representative of Rockwell International (Rockwell Automation now) in China. He initiated a program to establish Rockwell Automation labs and graduate student scholarships at a few top Chinese universities. I was lucky to be a winner of the scholarship. In fall 1998, Mike came to present the awards to winners in person.
In early 1999, I got an admission and presidential university graduate fellowship for a Ph.D. program at Boston University. My visa application was under review. Unfortunately, the lady who accepted my application forgot to process it later. I tried to contact the U.S. Consulate many times and couldn’t get any update for two months. I couldn’t find any way to solve my problem, so I tried to send Mike an email about my desperate situation and asked whether he might be able to help me. A few days later I was informed by the Consulate to pick up my visa. One week later, Mike followed up with my university staff and made sure I was all set with everything.
After coming to U.S., I often contacted Mike about my progress in study and job later via emails. I also knew Mike was from Bristol. In late 2005 I moved to Rhode Island when I got a job in southern Massachusetts. In May 2006, my wife and I visited Mike and Marie in Bristol when they planned to move back to the U.S. Mike treated us with a delicious local seafood lunch along the beautiful harbor and ice creams at the old store. He showed us around beautiful Bristol. Even though I moved out of Rhode Island in 2011, I still contacted Mike once a while.
Last summer, my family visited the New England area again. We visited Mike at his home. I still vividly remember the scenes when he asked my children about their school and what they want to do in the future. He was still optimistic with big smiles when he shared his health situation with us. We were glad to visit him again, though we are so sad that we won’t be able to share any more thoughts with him. We will remember Mike in our heart forever for his kindness.
William (Wenyuan) Chen, Ph.D.