Get to Know Valerie and Jim: Loving Active Living at Blue Skies

Jim and Valerie Byrd came to Blue Skies of Texas in 2017 and “never regretted it.” Jim noted, “It seems like we just got here, and it really is the best move we ever made.” Get to know Jim and Valerie, one of the countless happy couples living at Blue Skies of Texas.


Valerie grew up in England as part of a very close-knit family, but reached an age where she was ready to spread her wings. “I saw this advertisement for a job, ‘Come to the land of sunshine’”. It was a one-year contract with a very good company and so I thought, I can try anything for one year.”

For his part, Jim’s career path also headed him to Libya – by way of Afghanistan.  After serving as the youngest foreign service officer in the State Department from 1959 to 1962 in Afghanistan, Jim returned stateside to earn his MBA from the University of Texas in Austin. From there he interviewed at Exxon, saying he was “going to work with somebody I really admire and like the people I work with.” So he headed abroad once more, this time bound for Libya, where he soon met Valerie. The two dated for nearly a year. Afterward, Valerie went back to England for almost a year, and then the two became engaged.

After Jim and Valerie married, the two remained well traveled, living six years in Libya, seven years in England, eight years in Norway, five years in Manhattan with a few other stops around the globe. And they didn’t stop there. The two still enjoy traveling, with Jim noting that he’s traveled to 80 countries—and still counting!














When Jim and Valerie aren’t busy with the many activities offered at Blue Skies, the two enjoy traveling to the slopes. In fact, the two enjoy skiing so much that they jumped on the opportunity to become ski instructors (Valerie in 1998 and Jim in 2002). “I’ve taught over 2,000 beginners now,” Jim said.

While the two no longer teach ski lessons, they still make time to visit the slopes each year. Jim points out that traveling is made easy with Blue Skies of Texas. “We never have to worry about mowing the lawn, changing light bulbs, or any other maintenance issues, as that is taken care of by our super staff.” However, the two find plenty of ways to fill up their spare time while at home.


During the day, Valerie and Jim enjoy doing their own thing while making time for each other at the end of the day. “I love all the classes, Jim loves his vegetable garden, poker group, bike club and computer,” Valerie said. However, at the end of the day the two still manage to find time for each other. “I do see her occasionally, and we wind up sleeping in the same bed,” Jim joked.

When we asked Valerie to elaborate on the classes she takes at Blue Skies, she said, “In each class, the residents were wonderfully warm and welcoming. The first one I was interested in was Zumba, because of the lively music, and it just felt very young and all that. I kept going to that one! Then yoga, Tai Chi, total fitness, line dancing…and we also have Mahjong.”


When Jim and Valerie arrived at Blue Skies of Texas, they immediately noticed that “it feels like a resort.” When comparing this community to other retirement communities in Texas, “There were some very nice places, but it wasn’t clicking. Then, we came to Blue Skies, came in and we were both sold. It just had that very neat appearance,” Valerie said. “I’m used to that in England—very manicured.  Approaching the front lobby area, it just had the right look.”

When asked about how Blue Skies of Texas is for couples, Valerie said, “It’s a fantastic place for couples.  You can take off in all different directions and do your own thing, and still come back to the apartment and catch up with each other.”


Jim and Valerie are both thankful for Blue Skies of Texas’ mission as a nonprofit to support every member of our community for life. Valerie said, “As far as Blue Skies being a charitable organization through its Air Force Village Charitable Foundation, I think that’s a wonderful program. If a member of our community falls on hard times and needs financial support to be able to live comfortably in their late years, the trust is behind them.”

At Blue Skies of Texas, we will work with you to ensure that no matter what happens and no matter your background, you will always have a home here. Talk about peace of mind!

As charitable individuals themselves, Jim and Valerie greatly appreciate Blue Skies’ mission to provide for all our residents. “I’ve always given back to our churches, and always given back to Texas A&M. We have 10 kids on scholarships at A&M, all of whom must be a member of the Corps of Cadets to receive it,” Jim explained.

Jim and Valerie are just one of the many happy couples at Blue Skies of Texas. With our many wellness classes, plentiful amenities and wonderful dining experiences, we have something for any couple or individual looking for a senior living community to call home. If you’re interested in getting to know more about Blue Skies of Texas, visit our website or call us at (866) 553-5389.