Dallas Bird, 86

Wednesday, February 15, 2006

Col. Dallas Atwood Bird (USAF, ret.), 86, formerly of Mountain Home, died Saturday, Jan. 28, 2006, in Colville, Wash.

Memorial services were held Friday, Feb. 3, at the First Congregational Church in Colville with Rev. Stephen Bird officiating. The Danekas Funeral Chapel and Crematory in Colville, Wash., was in charge of arrangements.

The fourth child of Chauncey and Minta Bird, Dallas was born March 26, 1919. He was raised in Sheridan, Wyo., in the company of his three brothers (Forrest, Ken, and Hugh), two sisters (Helen Pierce and Virginia McClintock) and the looming presence of the Big Horn Mountains. Though he would travel far, much of his family and a friendly poker game could always be found in Sheridan, and it would always be home to him, his family said.

Dallas met his wife of 63 years, Betty Fosbury, at the University of Nebraska. The Lincoln girl liked the looks of a man from cowboy country, his family noted, and the couple married in June 1942. They moved to Denver, where they had a daughter, Linda, and Dallas graduated from Iliff School of Theology. The three of them moved to Salt Lake City and then to Ogden, Utah, serving in the First Methodist Church, while adding a son, Stephen, and drawing in a circle of friends that would be among their most enduring relationships.

A career in the Air Force followed, with two more children, DiAnne and Jim, and a collection of addresses from England to Morocco to Okinawa. He was proud to do a tour of duty as a combat chaplain in Viet Nam, as well, his family said. As with his Ogden parish, Dallas found with each assignment he was also collecting a wealth of friends with whom he and Betty would stay in touch.

He retired from the military at Mountain Home after 28 years of service. In 1978, Dallas took a parish in Goehner, Neb., a small church that would become one of his favorites. He and Betty moved to a home they built on the Nebraska prairie near Raymond and planted trees and a garden and grew yet another life together, sharing a parcel of land with their daughter, DiAnne, and her husband, Allen Hughes.

Colville drew Dallas and Betty, where their eldest daughter and son-in-law, Linda and Harvey Wier, lived. Its quiet mountain seclusion was a life-long dream realized, his family said. They built another home there, where they would share the holidays and the seasons with an extended family that continued to grow.

He loved music, especially singing, became a Master Gardener, raised dogs and cats and horses, and, at the end of the day, could be found listening quietly over the smoke of his pipe as his family, around the dinner table or in the living room, discussing the world, his family said.

Along with the two daughters mentioned above, Dallas is survived by: his wife, Betty; four siblings, Helen, Virginia, Ken and Hugh; two sons and their wives, Stephen and DottyAnne, Jim and Karen; nine grandchildren and ten great grandchildren.

Memorials may be made to either the Iliff School of Theology or Doctors Without Borders.