By Karen Andrew and Rebecca Goodman
The Cincinnati Enquirer
WEST CHESTER TWP. - Gloria A. Byrd, co-owner with her husband, Herman, of Emerge Day Spa & Salon in Kenwood, died Tuesday of breast cancer at Christ Hospital.
The West Chester Township resident was 45.
Mrs. Byrd decided to build the salon while undergoing radiation and chemotherapy for her cancer, which was diagnosed in 2000.
She dreamed of building a place where people could go to maintain a positive self-image while undergoing similar experiences.
Born in Moncks Corner, S.C., in 1958, she graduated from the University of South Carolina, where she earned a bachelor's degree in criminal justice in 1979 and a master's degree in public administration in 1985.
Mrs. Byrd was the first African-American woman to become an agent in the South Carolina Law Enforcement Division of the FBI. She worked in the executive protection department, where she led several major white-collar crime investigations.
She moved to Cincinnati to serve as security director of the Great Lakes Region of McDonald's Corp. The first woman in the security department, she developed security systems and programs that reduced monetary losses to the company.
She served on the boards of Crime Stoppers in Cincinnati, Dayton, Columbus and Cleveland; Ronald McDonald House of Greater Cincinnati; and the Cincinnati Ballet.
She was a member of Alpha Kappa Sorority Inc. and the NAACP, a founding member of the Cincinnati Women's Chamber of Commerce and founding president of the Queen City Women's Club.
Survivors include her husband of 11 years, Herman Byrd; a son, H. Joseph "Joey" Byrd, at home; a stepdaughter, Courtney Byrd of Dayton, Ohio; parents, David and Pola Gethers of Moncks Corner, S.C.; and four brothers, Wilbur Gethers of Moncks Corner, and Michael, Douglas and Jerome Gethers.
A "going-home celebration" is 5 p.m. todayat Quinn Chapel A.M.E. Church, 10998 Southland Blvd., Forest Park. The funeral is 1 p.m. Mondayat Mount Carmel A.M.E. Church, 1059 Old Black Oak Road, Moncks Corner. Interment will be at Westview Cemetery in Moncks Corner.
Memorials: Gloria A. Byrd Scholarship Fund, c/o National Foundation for Speaking of Women's Health, 1223 Central Parkway, Cincinnati 45244.
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