In Memory of

John 'Dick' Bird

August 14, 1931 - September 30, 2014
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 Mass Servers Jack Clarkson & Larry Rapagnani Gift Bearers Granddaughters- Jacque Carlson and Kaitlyn Kuhl
Nic Nelson Luke Nelson Andy Hanson Alex Hanson Josh Bird Brady Bird HONORARY BEARERS Jesse Bird Seth Bird Aaron Bird Austin Bird Jordan Bird Spencer Bird Jake Carlson Jace Carlson Nick 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' Recessional- Duet- 'The Irish Blessing'
Holy Name Catholic Cemetery Marcus, Iowa


Thursday, October 9, 2014 at 12:00 AM
“I had the pleasure of teaching with Dick for a couple of years at Sutherland High School. I always enjoyed talking with him about sports and the happenings at the school. Several years later I talked with him during a farmer's market in Des Moines. My condolences to his family.”
- Ben J. Taylor
Monday, October 6, 2014 at 12:00 AM
“We are so sorry to hear of the loss of Mr. Bird. We have nothing but fond memories of our teacher. Thinking of all of you during this difficult time. You were so very lucky to have such a loving man in your lives. You are in our thoughts and prayers.”
- Jim and Lori Jalas
Sunday, October 5, 2014 at 12:00 AM
“We extend our sincere sympathy to all of your family. We have the highest respect for all Dick accomplished and the example that he set. He was such a considerate, cordial and trustworthy person. There are few people who could match his ethics. Loved his easy-going smile! Our prayers include you.”
- Dave and Carol Platt
Saturday, October 4, 2014 at 12:00 AM
“Jacque and family,
My thoughts and prayers are with all of you in your time of loss. Dick was a great man. All of us File girls enjoyed spending time with the Bird family when we were younger. Dick was always so interested in what all of us kids were doing. And both of you always welcomed anyone into your home. I have many fun memories of the times our families spent together. May you be comforted by all of your great memories of Dick.
Dana (File) Kies”
- Dana (File) Kies
Friday, October 3, 2014 at 12:00 AM
“We are so sorry for your loss. May the Lord be with you during this time.”
- Larry & Marilyn Lindgren
Friday, October 3, 2014 at 12:00 AM
“Our deepest condolences to the Bird Family. Mr. Bird was such a gentle soul and touched many lives during his time with us and he was my friend!( I did get him riled up once, never did it again!) May he rest in peace!”
- Dan & Karen Sweeney
Friday, October 3, 2014 at 12:00 AM
“Our sincere sympathy to the Bird family for the loss of your husband, father, father-in-law and grandfather. Please know you are all in our thoughts and prayers.”
- Ron and Roberta Hersom
Friday, October 3, 2014 at 12:00 AM
“Our condolences go out to the Bird family and friends. Dick dedicated his life to the school and that commitment is very much appreciated by many, many former students.”
- Doug Maass
Friday, October 3, 2014 at 12:00 AM
“To the entire Bird Family; We just wanted to share our thoughts and prayers with each of you and hope that your hearts will continue to be flooded with fantastic memories. Your father was a truely great man and touched the lives of many of us over the years. God bless all of you. ”
- Tom Van Overbeke
Friday, October 3, 2014 at 12:00 AM
“"There are some who bring a light so great to the world that even after they have gone, the light remains." I have very fond high school memeories of Mr. Bird...his light will remain. ”
- Lori (Rehder) Dudley
Friday, October 3, 2014 at 12:00 AM
“Jacque and family: I was both shocked and saddened to read about Dick's passing. Wow! What a truly busy guy he was over the years and what great memories you all must have. Please accept my deepest sympathy.”
- Margaret M Brady
Friday, October 3, 2014 at 12:00 AM
“May God bless the family with peace and fond memories. Mr. Bird was one of my favorite teachers and always made learning easy. His kind manner and wonderful smile made all know he was one of the "good guys". Rest in peace.”
- Mary Kathleen (Kummerfeld) Uhrich
Thursday, October 2, 2014 at 12:00 AM
“My thoughts and prayers go out to Mr. Bird's family and friends.He was and amazing man. He always took time to talk to you. Even after they moved from Sutherland, if he saw you he asked about you and truly was concerned about you even when it had been a long time since seen you. That smile was calming and his eyes seemed to reassure you that he understood.
- Kathy L. Leonard
Thursday, October 2, 2014 at 12:00 AM
“Jacque and Family; We are so sorry for your loss. I will remember Big Bird and all of the City Council meetings we sat thru. And being good neighbors! I often thought of you guys after we moved. He was truly a great man! Your family will be in our Thoughts and Prayers. Jeff, Mary, Tyler, and Katie Triplett”
- Jeff and Mary Triplett
Thursday, October 2, 2014 at 12:00 AM
“I am saddened to hear of your family's loss. You are in my thoughts and prayers. May you rest in peace, Mr. Bird. You indeed had a positive influence on a multitude of students at SHS.”
- Debra Hill Steichen
Thursday, October 2, 2014 at 12:00 AM
“Dike was a nice guy and a wonderful brother to mom. all my prayers to you and your family Jackie we will miss him.”
- jim matgen
Thursday, October 2, 2014 at 12:00 AM
“To the Bird family: My all of the memories of your loved one hole you close to him in your heart until you can hold his hand again. Prayers are with all of you during this difficult time. ”
- Kristy Simington
Thursday, October 2, 2014 at 12:00 AM
“Please accept my heartfelt condolences on the loss of your beloved husband, father and grandfather. I truly enjoyed Mr. Bird as my Accounting teacher... a favorite, for sure. He was a well-liked, respected man who will be greatly missed by the O'Brien County community. May a lifetime of wonderful memories help comfort you.”
- Renee Segelke Severson, Cedar Rapids
Thursday, October 2, 2014 at 12:00 AM
“Sending my deepest sympathy to you. Mr Bird was a legend at SHS as the best teacher teaching with respect and care for everyone. He was a class act and a role model for how to be a good man. Thanks for sharing him with all of us.”
- Ruth Gellhaus Ott
Thursday, October 2, 2014 at 12:00 AM
“So sorry to hear of the loss of your husband, father, grandfather, and wonderful man in general. Lots of fond memories of Dick. Great guy that always had time to talk!! He touched many lives in his years at Sutherland high school. May all the wonderful family memories you all share pull you through this difficult time.”
- Michelle (Johannsen) Lange
Thursday, October 2, 2014 at 12:00 AM
“My sympathies to the Bird Family. Mr. Bird was most likely the BEST teacher in the Sutherland school system. He taught us about business and life - such great memories being in his classroom. God Bless him and the family. ”
- Theresa (Petersen) Hildreth
Thursday, October 2, 2014 at 12:00 AM
“My thoughts and prayers are with you all through this difficult time. I have fond memories of Grandpa Bird from growing up with Abby and Jesse. He will be greatly missed. ”
- Molly Clasing
Wednesday, October 1, 2014 at 12:00 AM
“We are sorry to hear about the loss of Grandpa Bird - we are keeping your family in our thoughts and prayers.”
- Laura & Ben Sweet
Wednesday, October 1, 2014 at 12:00 AM
“We are saddened with you on the loss of your husband, father, grandfather. Know that your family is in our thoughts and prayers. May God's peace hold you up in your time of grief”
- Chris and John VanderZee
Wednesday, October 1, 2014 at 12:00 AM
“My prayers go out for all family and friends. Mr. Bird was a terrific person!!”
- Cammy Brandt
Wednesday, October 1, 2014 at 12:00 AM
“Mr. Bird was one of my teachers at Sutherland. Rest in peace Mr. Bird. You were one of the good guys.”
- Valeda Clark Murr
Wednesday, October 1, 2014 at 12:00 AM
“Sorry to hear of your loss. Dick was such a nice guy and touched everyone lifes he came in contact with. I have good memories of him being my teacher and I also got to know him when Tom went with Sandy. You have to think of all the happy memories you have made with him to help you at this time of your loss. Lean on God for guidance to help you . God bless you.”
- Gretchen(Straub) Funk
Wednesday, October 1, 2014 at 12:00 AM
“So sorry for your loss. He was a wonderful man who touched many lives.”
- Mary Woodyard Beermann
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