Byron Broderick

Byron “Brod” Broderick, 88, died on Aug. 17, 2015 at home in Oak Park. Born on Aug. 20, 1926 in Grundy Center, Iowa, he joined the U.S. Army and served in the 75th Infantry Division during the Second World War. When the war in Europe ended, he briefly studied at the University of Neuchatel in Switzerland before returning to Iowa to earn a bachelor’s degree in European History at the University of Iowa. He then settled in Manhattan and worked for KLM Royal Dutch Airlines, traveling the globe, then spent two years at KLM, living in The Hague, Netherlands, and touring Europe extensively. 

In 1966, he returned to Manhattan and began a second career teaching elementary school at P.S. 161 in Harlem. He stressed reading and cultural arts, pushing to get his students out of the neighborhood and into museums, theaters, and music and dance events around New York. He also brought artists, writers and performers into the classroom. A mentor to student-teachers, he maintained contact with several former students after his retirement. One former student wrote in a “TED blog” that Byron “never treated his students like at-risk populations to be salvaged.” 

He moved to Oak Park to be closer to family. He loved following tennis and enjoyed reading, theater, opera, music, dance and art throughout his life. “If someone says they don’t like opera,” he once said, “what they’re saying is they don’t like the sound of the human voice.” Bravo maestro! 

Byron Thomas Broderick is survived by his family members, Tom Broderick, Diane Scott, Byron Broderick, Dorothy Broderick, Mike Broderick, David Broderick, Mary Burgess, Tim Broderick, Kathy Orsa and Tom Broderick — and his many friends across the country. 

Contributions to honor him may be sent to the Byron T. Broderick Libraries Student Employee Endowed Scholarship, University of Washington at If you prefer to mail a check, make it payable to the University of Washington Libraries and send to Libraries Advancement, University of Washington, Box 352900 in Seattle, WA 98195-2900. 

To celebrate Byron’s life, play some music that reminds you of him. 

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