S. John Byington
S. John Byington
  • October 9, 1937 - September 15, 2017
  • Alexandria, Virginia

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S. John Byington - October 9, 1937-September 15, 2017

S. John Byington, 79, died peacefully of natural causes on Friday, September 15th, in Alexandria, VA. He leaves his loving family: his wife of 19 years, Linda Lindsay Byington, his two daughters Nancy Rhodes and her husband Mark Rhodes, their children Matthew Rhodes and William Rhodes; and Barbra Byington, along with three step children, Lisa Lindsay Arsenault, her daughter Amelia Arsenault; Jennifer Lindsay and her husband Seth Zuckerman, their son Nicholas Zuckerman; and Ian Lindsay and his wife Jennifer Lanzarone Lindsay, their daughter Leda Rose Lindsay.
As the oldest of the eight children of Stanley J. Byington and Constance Y. Desnoyer Byington, he is survived by three brothers and four sisters, their spouses, and over 50 nieces, nephews, grand-nieces and nephews. He was born on October 9, 1937 in Kalamazoo, Michigan and attended Ferris State University, graduating in 1959 with a BS in Pharmacy. Following graduation, John enrolled in the University of Michigan Law School, working part-time as assistant manager of Stadium Pharmacy. He moved to Washington, accepting a position with the American Pharmaceutical Association (APhA), where he continued his law studies at Georgetown University, completing his JD in 1963, also becoming Director of Communications of APhA.
Returning to Grand Rapids, Michigan with his law degree, he worked as an assistant prosecutor and then became assistant press secretary to Governor George Romney. In 1966, he became campaign manager for Romney's third term gubernatorial campaign and his presidential bid in 1968. Subsequently, he practiced law with the U.S. Department of Commerce in Detroit. He moved back to Washington, D.C. to become deputy special assistant to President Ford and deputy director of the Office of Consumer Affairs at the Department of Health and Human Services. In 1976, President Ford appointed him Chairman of the Consumer Product Safety Commission, a position he held for two years. He was later appointed by President Reagan to the Aviation Safety Commission in 1987.
John went on to practice law for more than 20 years in Washington, focusing on corporate and regulatory matters at both the federal and state level. He was founding and managing partner of the Washington office of Detroit-based law firm, Bushnell, Gage, Reizen & Byington and, subsequently, Washington managing partner of the New York firm Rogers, Hoge & Hills. He, then, joined Pillsbury Madison & Sutro, helping to grow the Washington office from four lawyers to more than fifty.
Almost all of his professional life, John combined the practice of law with his entrepreneurial spirit. He was a founding member of several organizations, including two communications companies; a Wild Goose, a microbrewery, with his close friend Ted Garrish; a biotechnology company; an herbal products business; and, his last major venture, LegalLeaders Inc., a senior lawyer recruiting firm, serving, first, as global leader for the executive search firm, Page-Wheatcroft & Co. After ten years as CEO of LegalLeaders, Inc., he moved in-house at Patton Boggs as the partner responsible for lateral partner recruiting and integration and related strategic initiatives, ultimately retiring in 2015.

Along with his family, God, and country, John loved Washington DC and the Nationals, cheering with his family at one final game this season, even as his health was declining. He also had a great love of Ireland; he and Linda spent many, happy summer months in Killarney, exploring the richness of Irish culture with family and friends.

Mr. Byington will be honored with a memorial service October 9th at Demaine Funeral Home in Alexandria at 1:30, reception to follow from 2:30 to 4:30--520 S. Washington Street, 22314. In addition, a "Celebration of John's Life: Storytelling with Family and Friends" will be held in late December-date, time, and place to be announced. Rather than flowers the family would appreciate donations in his name to any of the following organizations: KIPP DC (http://www.kippdc.org); Goodwin House Foundation (https://www.goodwinhouse.org/goodwin-house-foundation); Gerald R Ford School of Public Policy University of Michigan (http://fordschool.umich.edu); or the Irish Repertory Theater, NYC. (https://irishrep.org).