Maria Antoinette Byers, 59, of Chattanooga, passed away on Sunday, August 18, 2019 in a local hospital.
She was born August 24, 1959 to the parents, Jackie and Jacqueline McDuffie. She grew up attending St. James A.M.E. Church. Maria graduated from Chickamauga Elementary School in the Shepherd Community. She then enrolled at Tyner Junior High and graduated from Tyner High School in 1977. Maria matriculated at the University of Tennessee at Chattanooga and earned the B.S. degree in Social Work. Maria loved family and took pride in learning her roots and knowing how she was related to even extended family members. In 1980, Maria’s oldest child, Tamala McDuffie “Tula” was born. Throughout her life Tamala has been mature beyond her years and she helped her mother raise the younger siblings.
In 1987, Maria married Johnathan Byers. To this union four children were born JonaeTalia Genosier, Jasmine Michelle Byers, Jonathan Cornelius Byers, and Dawnzalea Ruth Byers. Maria was the proud grandmother of seven grandchildren; Maya McDuffie, Deja McDuffie, Nila Williams, Raja Byers, Garland Byers, Jermarcus Byers, and Mariah Byers; two great-grandchildren, Peyton Williams and Paisley Williams. Maria is also survived by two sisters, Trina (Tyrone) Powell and Marshina (Shakil) Ali; a host of nieces; nephews; uncles; aunts; cousins; other relatives and devoted friends.
Maria was preceded in death by her mother, Jacqueline McDuffie; father, Jackie McDuffie, and sister, Yolanda “YoYo’ McDuffie.
Visitation is on Friday, Aug. 23, from 6-8 p.m. at Taylor Funeral Home.
Graveside service will be on Saturday, Aug. 24, at noon in Highland Memorial Gardens with Pastor Lyndon Clay giving words of comfort.