As a Marine officer, he served in Korea and Japan, receiving the Distinguished Flying Cross and other awards as a tactical air observer.
After a year traveling on his own throughout Europe and the Middle East, he joined Oxford University Press in New York City, where he worked for 25 years, the last eight as president. He served as president of American Heritage Publications from 1982 until 1986, when he began a new career in history education that included leadership positions at Americana magazine; a military history magazine, MHQ; National History Day; and the National Council for History Education, before retiring to North Carolina.
Byron died Jan. 2, 2021, in Chapel Hill. He is survived by his wife of 65 years, Judith; daughter Elinore; son Ralph; and three grandsons.