Jeanne Byrd Witt Matthews
February 3, 1945 – October 22, 2022
Jeanne Byrd Witt Matthews passed away peacefully during a magnificent Arizona sunset on October 22, 2022. She left this earth in the place she loved most, her home, surrounded by her loving family.
Jeanne was born February 3, 1945 in Baltimore, MD, the youngest child of William J. Byrd and Susan Shepard.
Even as a young girl Jeanne was known as fiercely independent and determined to blaze her own trail. And that she did, while serving as a role model for her family, countless friends, and neighbors.
While she wasn’t born in Arizona, she got here as fast as she could and made it clear Arizona forever owned her heart. Here, Jeanne lived life to its fullest. She was an outstanding fast pitch softball player, racquetball champion, water skier, windsurfer, horseback rider – and avid line dancer. There was nothing Jeanne couldn’t do when she set her mind to it.
As active as she was though, it was her love of helping others and sharing her life-long passion for horses that happily filled her days when she settled into her beloved Sonoita ranch in 2000. Her life became quickly filled with friends, trail rides, line dancing, and giving back to the community that had so warmly welcomed her as one of their own.
It’s been said that one of Jeanne’s greatest passions was her animals and ensuring their needs were met. And that is certainly true. She was also incredibly proud of her family – especially her grandchildren. Her family had scattered across the country, yet she consistently made it a priority to attend birthday celebrations, graduations, weddings, and family vacations. Being a part of the lives of her children and grandchildren and sharing her love of life with them kept Jeanne laughing and young at heart. She taught grandkids how to ride bikes and horses, to play games, and most importantly, how to not waste a precious moment and to live a life full of action!
Jeanne’s spirit, laughter, and kindness will be missed by all who knew her. She is survived by her two children, William Martin Witt and his wife Deborah, Las Vegas, NV; Lanie Witt Abbott and her husband Richard, of Bangor, Maine; her four grandchildren, Jessica Yvonne Leavitt and her husband Jordan; William Hunter Witt and his wife Karli; Lydia Witt Colson; Natalie Byrd Colson; and her two great grandsons, Radley Bert Leavitt and Thomas William Leavitt. She was predeceased by her first husband Richard Donald Witt and second husband James A. Matthews, and her parents.
A Celebration of her life will be held at 10a.m., December 3 at Canelo Cowboy Church, 14 McCarthy Ln, Elgin, AZ. Those wishing to remember Jeanne in a special way might consider making a gift to CCMA (Christian Cowboy Ministries of Arizona) camps for youth, PO Box 1324, Sonoita, Az, 85637