(Feb. 27, 1925 - Nov. 19, 2017)
Jean Elizabeth Bird, age 92, graduated into her Savior’s presence on Nov. 19, 2017, in Powell, WY. Jean was born in Spokane, WA on Feb. 27, 1925, to Bert and Eunice (Burch) Runner, the sixth of twelve children.
While still a child, the family move from Spokane took them on a cross-country trip to Virginia before they finally settled on the farm in Delhi, CA. Jean lived in Delhi through her Junior College years. She then worked as a chemist for Shell Oil in Oakland. It was in Oakland that she met her future husband, Norman Bird, at the United Presbyterian Church in 1942. Norman entered the Navy in 1943.
Jean returned to Spokane where she completed her education, graduating from Whitworth College in 1949 with a degree in Christian Education. Jean played tennis as a member of the Whitworth College team while attending school there. Norman and Jean were married on Aug. 4, 1951. They moved to Arcata, CA where Norman attended college. Jean taught elementary school in Samoa and Loleta, CA before their children were born. After their children were of school age, Jean returned to teaching. Jean was a well-loved teacher at South Fortuna Elementary School (first & second grades) until her retirement in 1987. Jean and Norman continued to use their teaching skills after retirement, traveling to High Rock Prison every Saturday for many years, teaching inmates almost any subject they needed help with, including reading, math, music, English, and finances/accounting.
Jean and Norman attended Campton Heights Baptist Church in Fortuna for over 50 years, where they enjoyed fellowship with the church family, served their Lord as Sunday School teachers, and were very involved in children’s ministry (including 22 years in AWANA), often transporting car loads of kids from neighboring communities to and from church. Jean also spent many summers cooking at church camp. Jean and Norm enjoyed camping, family reunions and annual trips to Wyoming and Washington to visit their kids and grandkids.
In 2014, the Birds moved to their daughter’s house in Powell, WY. Norman passed away in February of 2015. Norman and Jean were married 63 years. Jean then moved to the Rocky Mountain Manor in downtown Powell where she made many new friends. She became a member of the First Southern Baptist Church in Powell, where she enjoyed the Bible teaching, the fellowship, and continued to help with VBS and Children’s Church as she was able.
Jean is survived by her children, Don (Carol) Bird of Spokane, WA and Barbara (Cas) Seago of Powell, WY, grandchildren Rebecca Seago of Billings, MT and Christopher Seago of Laramie, WY, sisters Lila Lohman of Turlock, CA and Thelma Reinhart of Tucson, AZ.
Jean was preceded in death by her husband Norman, by her parents, by her sisters Letha, Ellen, Muriel, Ramona, and Wilma, and by brothers Bruce, Gordon, David and Brian.
A celebration of Jean’s life will be held at First Southern Baptist Church of Powell on Saturday December 2, 2017 at 10:30 a.m. Memorial donations in Jean’s honor may be made to Triumphant Life Camp (where Jean served as a camp cook) at 2526 J Street, Eureka, CA 95501 or to First Southern Baptist Church, P.O. Box 942, Powell, WY for Samaritan Purse Christmas Shoebox Ministry. Jean’s cremains will be placed next to Norman’s at the Yellowstone National Cemetery in Laurel, MT.