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Kenneth O. Bird, 69, of Staunton, died Monday, February 1, 2016 surrounded by his dedicated loving family, after a long hard battle with Mesothelioma cancer. Mr. Bird was born on July 9, 1946 in Logan, WV, a son of the late Arthur P. and Mary Miller Chatfield Bird.
Mr. Bird served his country honorably, in the United States Navy, during the Vietnam War aboard the U.S.S. Vulcan AR-5. After leaving the Navy, he was employed by the Seaboard Coastline Railroad, in 1970, where he became a Locomotive Engineer. During his railroad career, he received safety awards and pins of merit for his dedicated service. In 2006 after 36 years of service, he retired from CSX Railroad.
While working for the railroad, Kenneth and his wife, Eleanor, established a National Certified Tree Farm. After retirement, Kenneth established "Deer Park Tree Farm", where he and his wife started selling trees and shrubs at the Staunton- Augusta Farmer's Market. He was a true "Tree Hugger".
In addition to his parents, he was preceded in death by his younger brother, Bradley Arron Bird and a brother-in-law, Roger Cooper. Surviving is the love of his life, Eleanor Braxton Cochran Bird, whom he married on April 29, 1978; a son, Michael David Bird and his wife, Christine; three daughters, Veronica Lewis, and her husband, Dean, Anna Williams, and her husband, John, Theresa Lewis, and her husband, Andy; seven wonderful grandchildren, Kaleb, Issac, Sarah, Athan, Randall, Carter and Cassie; a very special brother, Lawrence Arthur Bird and his wife, Emmajane; two brothers-in-law, Joseph Smith Cochran III and his wife, Inez and Douglas Flanigan Cochran and his wife, Karen; sister-in-law, Mildred Cochran Cooper and twelve nieces and nephews.
Before Ken's health declined, he and his wife thoroughly enjoyed riding their bicycles on the by ways and rail trails throughout the state of Virginia. He was also an avid fly fisherman, casting his line on many lakes, rivers and streams throughout the eastern United States.
Kenny was a long time member of the Brotherhood of Locomotive Engineers, the American Legion, the American Tree Farm System and the Staunton Historical Society. He also served on the Steering Committee of Staunton-Augusta Farmer's Market.
He was a long time member of Trinity Episcopal Church, he enjoyed serving where needed. He felt being a member of this church family was a true blessing.
A funeral service will be conducted at 2:00 pm on Saturday, February 6, 2016 at Trinity Episcopal Church, 214 W. Beverley Street, Staunton, VA 24401, with The Rev. Paul Nancarrow and Rev. Shelby Ochs Owen officiating. Burial to follow at Thornrose Cemetery with military honors. Following the burial, everyone is invited back to the church for a Celebration of Life Service and Fellowship.
Active Pallbearers will be Paul Bradley, Charles Schooley, Thomas Trykowski, Chapman Williams, David Wise and Thomas Womack. Honorary Pallbearers will be Donald Flower, M.D., Captain U.S. Navy Ret., John P. Wilkinson, Cmdr, U.S. Navy Ret., Theodore Cathey, Lt. Col., U.S. Army Jag. Ret., Michael Albanese, Senior Chief Petty Officer, U.S. Navy Ret., Joseph Vecchioli, USN, and Carol Brown, USN.
The family would like to give a very loving heartfelt thank you to Dr. Todd Wolf, Kathleen Hayden NP, the caring and compassionate nurses at UVA Hope Cancer Center; Dr. Margaret C. Siman, Stephanie RN and staff for all their compassionate caring; the very loving, supportive, caring and kind group at Hospice of the Shenandoah; a wonderful caregiver, faithful and loving friend, Pam Mathews RN and a great spiritual guide helping Ken in his journey, Hospice Chaplain Mark Westebbe.
In lieu of flowers, the family suggests contributions be made to Trinity Episcopal Church, P.O. Box 208, Staunton, VA 24402, and/ or The Shenandoah House, P.O. Box 1000, Fishersville, VA 22939.
Arrangements have been entrusted to the Staunton Chapel of Reynolds Hamrick Funeral Homes.
Relatives and friends may share condolences and memories with the family online by visiting www.reynoldshamrickfuneralhomes.com.