Reginald Bythewood Biography

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Obituary of Reginald Perry Bythewood

On May 31, in the year of our Lord, 2014, Reginald Perry Bythewood, Sr., a true historic figure, gave up his life and ascended to Heaven.

Born on December 7, 1918, in Beaufort, South Carolina, Reginald - a true man of the ages - was born the youngest child of Daniel Bythewood and Geneva Perry Bythewood, he was 95. His life was not simple for all that he accomplished was made much more difficult due to it being a racist time of Jim Crow and worse. But, Reginald was brilliant and accomplished what the vast majority could only dream of accomplishing.

As a youngster, Reginald was filled with a desire to perform, and he did. With his mother Geneva, he won acclaim as a member of the original cast of the Broadway production known as “The Green Pastures”, the first ever Broadway production with an al Negro cast.

During World War II, despite rampant discrimination, he served his country in France as a Staff Sergeant in the United States Army. During that service, while fighting the Nazis, he earned and was awarded the Purple Heart the American Service Medal, the European African Middle Eastern Service Medal and the WWII Victory Medal. His service included service in the Ardennes and Rhineland.

Following his World War II service in the United States Army and his receipt of his Honorable Discharge, he continued to serve by becoming a member of the New York City Housing Police. And, later, continued that service as a Detective in the New York City Police Department with which he served until his retirement.

During all of his life he never forgot the comradery of his U.S. Army comrades. He illustrated this by being an active member and officer of the 369th Veterans Association. There, he was a major driving force. He remained active in the 369th until his health deprived him of the ability to do so.

In December of 2005, Reginald was honored by the United Service Organization which is commonly known as the U.S.O. In 2005, the USO recognized that certain soldiers, who valiantly did the fighting on the ground during WWII, to preserve our freedom from Nazi tyranny, were never recognized or honored for their exceptional WWII service. Because of this, the U.S.O. selected and honored twenty-three (23) exceptional common soldiers by having cast twenty three (23) special gold medals which the U.S.O. awarded to those exceptional common soldiers at its Gold Medal Dinner in December of 2005. Reginald Perry Bythewood, Sr., was one of those twenty-three (23) exceptional common soldiers and cherished his gold medal.

Reginald, from the time he was very young and lived at 1997 Seventh Avenue, in Harlem, until his mother Geneva died. When first arriving in Harlem he became a member of the Mount Olivet Baptist when Dr. Maxwell was the minister. He remained a member of and was always loyal to Mount Olivet Baptist Church until his death.

These are but a few of the accomplishments of a small part of the history of Reginald Perry Bythewood, Sr. who suffered the pain of both his wife and son predeceasing him.

Reginald was a vibrant man who was full of life and was always in step with all that was new.