HomeAbout Billiards DigestContact UsArchiveAll About PoolEquipmentOur AdvertisersLinks
Headstring News
BCA Hall of Famer Robert Byrne Dead at 86
Dec 9, 2016, 3:57 PM

Prolific billiard author, carom aficionado, longtime contributing editor to Billiards Digest and Billiard Congress of America Hall of Famer Robert Byrne passed away Tues., Dec. 6., at his home in Dubuque, Iowa. He was 86.

Mr. Byrne was best known for a string of successful billiard instructional books and videos, the most popular of which was “Byrne’s Standard Book of Pool and Billiards,” first published in 1978. “Byrne’s Standard Book” was a must-have for aspiring pool and billiard players and has sold more then a half-million copies. His first effort in the sport, however, came in 1972, with the publishing of “McGoorty, A Pool Room Hustler,” a biography of noted San Fancisco-based hustler Danny McGoorty.

In 1982, Mr. Byrne published “Byrne’s Treasury of Trick Shots in Pool and Billiards,” a collection of the greatest trick and fancy shots of all time, most with a story tracing the shots origins. Mr. Byrne also published “Byrne’s Advanced Technique in Pool and Billiards” (1990), “Byrne’s Book of Great Pool Stories” (1995), “Byrne’s Wonderful World of Pool and Billiards” (1996), “Byrne’s New Standard Book of Pool and Billiards” (1998) and “Byrne’s Complete Book of Pool Shots: 350 Moves Every Player Should Know” (2003). In addition, Mr. Byrne produced seven instructional videos based on his “Standard Book” and “Treasury of Trick Shots.”

Originally a civil engineer by trade, Mr. Byrne developed his writing skills as a reporter for a construction industry trade magazine, and published three books before becoming a full-time writer in the late 1970s. He authored seven novels, many times using the names of pool and billiard acquaintances as characters.

After stints residing in Northern California and Colorado, Mr. Byrne returned to his native Dubuque in the late ’90s with his second wife, Cindy Nelms Byrne. He contributed a column to the Dubuque Daily Herald for the final 16 years of his life.

Mr. Byrne received the Billiard & Bowling Institute of America Industry Service Award in 1994, and was elected to the BCA Hall of Fame in 2001, earning induction alongside his longtime friend and world billiard champion Raymond Ceulemans of Belgium. After initially contributing to the National Billiard News, Mr. Byrne was swayed to join Billiards Digest by magazine founder Mort Luby, Jr., when the magazine was launched in September 1978. Mr. Byrne contributed instructional columns, tournament coverage and feature stories for more than 25 years.

Mr. Byrne leaves a legacy as the game’s most prolific author, a man whose words and instruction drew millions of players to the table. Gifted with an analytical mind and incredible wit, he was one of the game’s true gentlemen and an industry treasure.