William L. Bird
William L. Bird
  • July 14, 1925 - December 24, 2016
  • Galesville, Maryland

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William L. (Bill) Bird, Sr., 91, an engineer who worked for the Rural Electrification Administration (REA) from 1949 until he retired in 1991 as Telephone Program Director, died December 24.

Mr. Bird, who lived in Galesville, Maryland, was born in Greenup, Kentucky on July 14, 1925. At age 2 months he moved with his family to Washington, D.C. where he attended public schools and graduated from Theodore Roosevelt High School in 1943.

Following graduation, Mr. Bird enlisted in the Army and was inducted at Fort Meade, Maryland. After training at Fort Benning, Georgia he was assigned to the 94th Infantry Division, landed at Utah Beach in September 1944, and subsequently saw combat action in France and Germany. Mr. Bird was captured in the Battle of the Bulge and held as a prisoner of war until the American forces liberated him. He was awarded the European-African-Middle Eastern Service Medal with three Bronze Stars, among other military honors.

Soon after his return home to Washington, D.C. following V-E Day, he entered The George Washington University School of Engineering from which he received his Bachelor of Science degree in Electrical Engineering in 1949. While in school, Mr. Bird was inducted into the Sigma Tau Honorary Engineering Fraternity. After graduation, he began a 42-year career in government service with the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s REA. He was active in the 94th Infantry Division Association, which he served as both National President and President of the local Chesapeake Chapter.

Mr. Bird was a man of strong faith and an active member of the United Methodist Church. He was a Charter Member of Christ United Methodist Church in Landover Hills, Maryland, where he held many administrative positions and taught Sunday School. More recently, he was a member of Galesville United Methodist Church.

A devoted husband, father, and grandfather, he was thoughtful, caring, and precise. He enjoyed spending time outdoors, whether bicycling through Rock Creek Park as a boy or camping with his children and grandchildren. He was known for his endless ability to build, repair, or improve any item in the home.

He is survived by his loving wife of 66 years, Lois Ann (Ehlers) Bird, in addition to four children: William Lawrence Bird, Jr. (Mary) of Bethesda, Maryland; Janice Bird (Scott Eden) of Edgewater, Maryland; Mark Bird (Susie) of Annapolis, Maryland; and Jeanette Curry (Matt) of Catonsville, Maryland. He is also survived by eleven grandchildren: Katherine, Emma, Caroline, Natalie, and Billy Bird; Suzanne (Jon Schnaars), William, and Andrew Eden; and Daniel, Christian, and Molly Curry, in addition to two great-grandchildren, James and Lucy Schnaars.

A memorial service will be held on Sunday, January 8, 2017 at 2 p.m. at Galesville United Methodist Church at 4825 Church Lane, Galesville, Maryland 20765. In lieu of flowers, memorial contributions may be made in his name to West River Center, 5100 Chalk Point Road, West River, MD 20778 or Galesville United Methodist Church.