John Richard Bird was born August 14, 1931 to Leo and Clara (Berendes) Bird on August 14, 1931 near Maryhill, Iowa. The last of five children, he was a 1949 graduate of Marcus Holy Name High School. He earned his Bachelor of Arts degree from Westmar College and served his country in Korea. On August 30, 1955, he married Jacqueline Elizabeth Bentz, the daughter of John (Jack) and Lillian (Schuchard) Bentz.
Dick was a professional educator, beginning his career in the classroom in the Calumet school system in 1957 and continuing through his retirement from the consolidated Sutherland district in 1989. Over the years he taught multiple business courses, coached JH girls' basketball, drove a bus route, held the position of athletic director and served the district as HS principal. In order to support his large family, Dick took 'moonlighting' to a whole new level. In addition to officiating both football and basketball, he spent years working in the crop insurance industry as both a salesman and loss adjuster. He was Calumet's city clerk for decades and after he retired from teaching, he enjoyed serving O'Brien County as Magistrate. In 1988 he was inducted to the Iowa High School Athletic Association's Athletic Director's Hall of Fame. Dick's teaching didn't stop in the classroom. Perhaps his greatest accomplishment was, through his example at home, teaching nine children to be loving spouses and parents.
As a husband, father of nine, grandfather of 26 and great grandfather of 11, it goes without saying that Dick had very little free time. However, when he did, his favorite pastimes included golfing and playing pinochle.
In addition to Jacque, his wife of 59 years, he will be lovingly remembered by five sons and four daughters, their spouses and children; Colleen and Jeff Nelson of Manning and their children Nicholas and Michelle Nelson, Lukas Nelson and Bethany and Jake Vander Zee; Sandy and Randy Hanson of Marcus and their children Amber and Rory Booth, Andrew and Kelcy Hanson and Alexander and Alicia Hanson; John and Robbin Bird of Emmetsburg and their children, Josh and Erin Bird, Brady Bird and Abby and Kyle Caven; Dan and Jana Bird of Ramsey, Minnesota and their children Chelsea and Nate Fehl and Austin Bird; Jim and Stephanie Bird of Emmetsburg and their children Jesse and Beth Bird, Seth, Aaron and Jamie; Rick and Julie Bird of Emmetsburg and their children Hannah and Spencer; Bob and Carol Bird of Corcoran, Minnesota and their children, Jordan Bird, Allison and Tyler Rahn and Rachel and Brennan Granstra; Tracey and Michael Carlson of Emmetsburg and their children Jacob, Jacque and Jace; Kelly and Alex Kuhl of Shawnee, Kansas and their children, Kaitlyn, Nicholas and Elizabeth. Great-grandchildren include Logan and Emmalin Nelson, Grace and Claire Nelson, JJ and Charlee Vander Zee, Mason, Myla and Aspen Hanson, Connor Booth and Elliott Bird.
His is survived by one sister, Audrey and her husband Jinx Matgen of Remsen, and dozens of nieces and nephews. He was preceded in death by his parents, brothers Jim and his wife Beverly (Anderson), Bill and his wife Arlene (Seuntjens), and Charles in infancy and sister Mary Jane and her husband Robert (Bud) Snyder.
The family would like to thank the staff at PARC Hall and Palo Alto Hospice in Emmetsburg, Iowa for the loving care they provided Dick, Jacque and family during the last weeks of Dick's life. They ask that in lieu of flowers, donations be made to Palo Alto Hospice or to Race4Grace in honor of Dick's great granddaughter, Grace Nelson.
Palo Alto County Hospice, 3201 1st St., Emmetsburg, IA, 50536
Race 4 Grace, 913 S. Marshall, Rock Rapids, IA 51246.
A funeral mass will be held at 10:30 a.m., Saturday, October 4, 2014, at Holy Name Catholic Church at 102 N. Elm St. in Marcus.
Father Dan Guenther
Jack Clarkson & Larry Rapagnani
Granddaughters- Jacque Carlson and Kaitlyn Kuhl
Visitation will be AT HOLY NAME CHURCH in Marcus beginning at 2:00 p.m. Friday, October 3rd. The Knights of Columbus will conduct a Rosary at 4:00 p.m. The family will be present from 5:00 until 7:00 p.m., and a prayer service will follow at 7:00 p.m.
Vocalists- Granddaughters- Bethany Vander Zee and Hannah Bird and the Holy Name Choir.
Organist- Steve Smith
Prelude- Solo- 'Lord's Prayer'
Opening- Congregational Hymn-'Be Not Afraid'
Offertory- Solo- 'Ave Maria'
Communion- Congregational Hymn-'One Bread One Body'
Communion- Solo- 'The Summons'
'The Irish Blessing'
Holy Name Catholic Cemetery Marcus, Iowa