Gordon S. Bird Jr. was born on 29 November, 1933 in Brookline, Massachusetts, to Gordon Sinclair Bird Sr. and Olive Elizabeth Battles Bird, and eldest brother to David Owen Bird.
Gordon grew up in Winchester, Mass 1938-1951, and graduated from Winchester High School in 1951. He was best known as “Buzzy” Bird or “Buzz” because of his boundless energy. He ran track and cross country and was the captain of the Winchester High Track team and then attended Bates college in Maine from 1951-1953.
In 1954-1956, he enlisted into the Army and served in the German theater during the Korean War conflict period, serving in the U.S. Army Europe and was a member of the Rhine Track Team. In 1956, the same year that Roger Bannister broke the four-minute mile, he ran a mile in 4:06! He was also in the army ski patrol while in Germany and also served as a medic and Company Clerk.
Gordon married his first wife, Hertha E. Koch, after they met in Berchtesgaden, Germany while he was serving as a ski patrol in the Bavarian Alps. They were married in his hometown of Winchester in 1957 at his family home. He was attending college at Bates when he was married to Hertha.
After the wedding, they moved back to Maine where he finished his degree in Geology. A strong friendship with Richard and Elaine Hechtl was established while in college, which continued throughout their lives. Buzz and Richard were best friends and departed this life within a month and a half of each other, just as they had always done, sharing and doing everything together.
Upon completion of college at Bates, Hertha and Gordon moved to Boston where he attended Boston University and also completed his PhD course work in Geology, less the dissertation. Gordon was gifted with a high intellect and he was very successful at academics.
Susanne E. Bird, his daughter, was born in December 1958 in Winchester, Mass.
While in graduate school, Gordon entered the workplace working for the Geological survey department. They continued to live in Massachusetts and had a son, Peter D. Bird, born on 2 March 1961, also in Winchester, Mass.
Gordon was a passionate man and had many goals and dreams. His main focus early in life was to establish himself in a successful career. He found new employment with a company in Cambridge Mass and had success as a developer of new technologies that were used in the U.S. Space program establishing two or three patents in thermocouple devices. His innovations and inventions were documented and culminated in a book titled: Cambion Thermoelectric Handbook, published for his company, in 1971.
During his time with Cambion, Gordon moved his family to New Hampshire where he pursued another passion…growing vegetables and starting his own business. He started a small farm along with his family and spent several years tilling the earth and producing some of the finest vegetables ever seen in New Hampshire! As with all he did, the latest farming technology was used and the latest vegetable hybrids were cultivated.
The Bird’s Farm Stand was alongside a rural road and was a family run business, active participants being his father, Gordon S. Bird Sr., wife Hertha, and children Susi and Peter. He built a successful business where the Bird’s sold their vegetables to the grateful locals and passersby.
He commuted daily to Massachusetts to work full time while the farm stand was working, and he would proudly tell you he drove the equivalent to the moon and back in order to continue working at his passion of farming which had been instilled in him as a boy on his grandfather’s farm in Brockton, Mass.
The farm was home to many animals and produced many fond memories for friends and family and all the folks who enjoyed the fresh corn and amazing tomatoes grown by Gordon and family.
Gordon’s life journey took a path westward in 1971. He and friend decided to venture out on their own and start a business in Blanding, Utah. They founded Canyonlands 21st Century Corporation. Their vision was to produce the highest purity metals required to sell back to larger companies in the burgeoning high tech industry…specifically computers and calculators. Gordon spent years working to get his business off the ground.
Gordon’s family moved west in 1973 and joined him in Blanding. He was proud of his accomplishments with his business and was voted the small business of the year in Utah in 1978. He was invited to a small business conference in Washington, D.C. and was privileged to meet then President Jimmy Carter where they discussed small business in the U.S.
Gordon divorced Hertha and met his second wife Lynda Bird. He lived in Salt Lake City, and he was an important part of Lynda’s life and the raising of her two sons, Randy and Rik Rarick. Gordon always cared for and loved Randy and Rik like his sons’…and then his grandkids from that side of his family.
Lynda and Gordon moved to Blanding where they lived for many years until his business was sold and transferred to another owner. He then moved to Minnesota with Lynda where he worked in the car business for the duration of his career. He met and loved many people in Minnesota, and was very fond of all the sports teams in Minnesota.
While in Minnesota, he developed cancer. He was fortunate to have the VA hospital, and they were able to give him a long life despite his health issues.
Gordon moved back to Blanding in 2011. It was here where he found his purpose and meaning in life. He found his spiritual peace within his heart and joined the LDS church. He was baptized on 5 July, 2013 at the age of 79. He later recounted to many how, despite all the amazing events that had occurred in his life, this one event was the most meaningful for him. He set a beautiful example of passing on to his Father in Heaven in peace and love.
Gordon will be remembered for his passion, perseverance, “strong” goal/task focused personality (some may recall this), love for family and many friends, his animals, all his dogs named Heidi and Penny, and love for gardening, hunting, fishing, and genealogy. He loved researching his family history, and over a 30-year period worked for hundreds of hours researching and documenting history and information on over 20,000 ancestors, some dating back to Charlemagne. This was one of his greatest life’s accomplishments.
His strong faith and belief in God were discovered late in life….his Spirit bloomed and he was enjoying the peace of his faith late in his life and through his passage beyond.
Gordon is survived by brother, retired U.S. Army Col. David O. Bird; former wives, Hertha E. Bird and Lynda D. Bird; daughter, Susi Bird Felice; son, Peter D. Bird; many grandkids and loved ones; and his cousin, “Mouse”, whom he held a special place in his heart.
He is preceded in death by his parents.
Funeral services will be held in Salt Lake City and Blanding, Utah and in Bradford, NH. Tentative plans include: NH Memorial September 27 (location TBA), Salt Lake City Memorial October 4, 2013 at 10 a.m. LDS Church 3100 East Craig Drive, Blanding Utah, October 5, 2013, noon service, location to be announced. Arrangements were entrusted to Premier Funeral Services in Salt Lake City.
Interment in Bluffdale, UT VA cemetery, Blanding, UT cemetery, and Bradford N.H. cemetery.
Card of thanks
The family wishes to express their gratitude for the countless people who shared their love, support, and time with Gordon and his family over these years. The children want to especially thank their mother, Hertha E. Bird, for her tireless hours spent at Gordon’s side on our farm, giving us a wonderful place to grow up.
They also wish to thank Lynda D. Bird for her selfless caring of their father in his later years. She gave him a home and happiness the last few years of his life for which they will always be grateful.
Special thanks to the staff at the Salt Lake City VA hospital, especially the Urology Team of doctors and the wonderful nursing staff on the second floor. The Fischer House, and the kind caregivers at Olympus Rehabilitation center in Salt Lake.