Ocean Beach 05
Official Obituary of

Reginald Byrd

Reginald Byrd Obituary

In Loving Memory of Obasegun Olupona Olumuyiwa

Today, we gather to pay tribute to a remarkable soul, Reginald Byrd, known to many as Obasegun Olupona Olumuyiwa. Born on November 16, 1952, in the vibrant city of Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. Olupona was raised in Belvedere, Delaware, where his journey through life was marked by dedication, creativity, and a profound connection to his African heritage. Olupona’s early years were shaped by his education at Absalom Jones Elementary, Brandywine Springs Jr. High, and Thomas McKean High School. His thirst for knowledge and adventure led him to serve in the U.S. Air Force from 1970 to 1974, where he demonstrated his commitment to duty and honor before receiving an honorable discharge. Olupona’s passion for enriching lives extended to his work as a Recreational Counselor for the New Castle County Park and Recreation Department in Delaware, where he touched the hearts of many. His professional journey also took him to Hewlett Packard in Avondale, Pennsylvania, where his skills and dedication shined brightly. With curiosity, a thirst for adventure, and a deep appreciation for traditional cultures, Olupona journeyed from Pennsylvania-Deleware-California-Thailand-Vietnam to Oyotunji African Village in Sheldon, South Carolina in 1979. He was initiated into the Osagian Palace Ilari in 1979 and was further initiated in 1981 to Esu and Ogun. A visionary and cultural leader, Olupona embraced his role in Oyotunji as Chief Minister of Culture at the African Theological Arch ministry in Sheldon, S.C., from 1978 to 1988. Through his intricate Yoruba sculptures, carved with precision and passion using basic carpenter chisels, he sought to illuminate the profound connections between African traditions and the world's diverse spiritual practices, advocating for the revival of ancestral customs and wisdom. Olupona was the founder of Vibrations of Africa and a co-creator of Paradise Secret Gardens in Port Royal, South Carolina. His artistic endeavors were celebrated through numerous exhibitions and presentations, including the "Vibrations of Africa" Touring exhibition, where his exceptional talent and vision were recognized by the Arts Council of Northern Beaufort County, National Museum of African American History and Culture earning him well-deserved accolades, grants, and support. Reginald was the visionary co-creator of Paradise Secret Gardens, alongside his wife of 13 years Chief Priestess Sangobunmi Makinde. Paradise Secret Gardens is an enchanting botanical garden adorned with 6-7 feet of wooden African carvings and sculptures. This botanical showcase captivated crowds of people, including representatives from Nickelodeon Studios and the Mayor of Beaufort County. Olupona was a multifaceted individual known for his diverse roles as a patriarch, author, Esu, and Ogun priest, metaphysician, master carver, lecturer, and diviner. We bid farewell to Obasegun Olupona Olumuyiwa, who was preceded in death by his mother Stella M. Byrd. We remember not only his professional achievements but also the legacy of love and family he leaves behind. Reginald is survived by his five children Jamal S. Wing, Omo Wilkerson, Olajide Wilkerson, Iwasumina I. Olumuyiwa, Omiladun I. Olumuyiwa. Eight grandchildren: Jamal S. Wing, Jasiah Wing, Jaheim Wing, Ania T. Makinde, Ojo Makinde, Oladoyin Makinde-Ogunlano, Olayemi Olumuyiwa, Afolabi Olamina-Olumuyiwa, and one great-grandson stand as a testament to the enduring bonds he nurtured and cherished throughout his life. We ask ikole orun to expand the skies and illuminate a path for Reginald Byrd, Obasegun Olupona Olumuyiwa, and guide your son safely. Olupona Olumuyiwa, whom we have gathered to honor, may you ascend peacefully to heaven. May your light and joy accompany us always. May you intercede for us and shower blessings from the heavens. May your legacy be a guiding light for us always. May his spirit continue to inspire us to honor our roots, celebrate our diversity, and strive for a world where art, culture, and heritage unite us in harmony and understanding. Rest in honor, Obasegun Olupona Olumuyiwa. Your light will forever shine in our hearts. Ase, Ase, Ase

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Funeral Service
March 30, 2024

11:11 AM
Ilesa Ire Temple
4307 NE 70th Place
Gainesville, FL 32609


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