Thursday, May 16, 2013

Bird family to celebrate birthdays Saturday

Emma Lorraine Lawless Burch is pictured at the age of two on Big Horn Mountain, sometime in the 1920s. Emma later married Jesse (Jack) Bird of Stevensville, MT and became the mother of Bill Bird of Greer, and his siblings, Betty (Bird) Wouri, Jack Bird, Jim Bird, and Peggy (Bird) Bobbitt.

The Bird family of Greer and Orofino will be celebrating their birthdays at Konkolville Saturday, May 18, with special guests and siblings Bill Bird of Greer, 89, whose birthday is May 21; Jim Bird of Orofino, 80, whose birthday is May 23; and Betty Bird Wuori, 87, whose birthday is May 26.

The Birds migrate

When Evan and Cal Whitney “came over the hill” from Montana in 1946 to retire, they unwittingly began a minor Bird family migration to the Clearwater valley. Their daughter, Ruth, was engaged to Bill Bird, who at that time lived in Hamilton, MT. Ruth and Bill were married Dec. 18, 1946 at Hamilton.

Ruth and Bill settled in Greer (where they still reside), and so began the “migration.” First to come was Bill’s father, Jesse “Jack” Bird, who moved to Greer and lived at Ruth and Bill’s little ranch on Lolo Creek. Jack stayed there until 1974, then moved to Konkolville.

In 1950 the youngest Bird, Bill’s brother, James, came to visit Bill in Greer. While there, he was attracted to a pretty blonde girl he saw at The Fountain (now the Ponderosa). At that time, they didn’t exchange a word. When Jim came back to Orofino after being discharged from the Navy, he found his dream girl, Gerri Konkol, working at the theatre. Jim and Gerri were married April 14, 1956, and Jim has never been sorry he came to this area. He and Gerri have five children and nine grandchildren, and still live in Orofino.

Jack Bird junior first visited Orofino with a friend, after school was out. They arrived in Greer “by thumb,” via Boise. Jack returned in 1955 after he was discharged from the Navy. Bill introduced him to Ralph Space with the U.S. Forest Service. That led to Jack meeting Virginia Sturgess, daughter of Faye Sturgess, one of the group of well-loved teachers who finished their teaching careers at Orofino Elementary.

Jack and Virginia married June 16, 1956 at the Methodist Church. Jack flew the USFS air patrol with Jack Godwin. His career was with the government weather bureau. Before retirement he was in charge of the earthquake aftermath at St. Helen’s, and of observing 40 energy stations, including buoys on the ocean that had weather stations.

Jack and Virginia have four children and six grandchildren, and now live in Ashland, OR.

Peggy Bird graduated from high school at Stevensville, MT, and moved to Orofino in 1956. She went to work at the Bank of Orofino as a secretary and lived at Anna Bloom’s apartments on Michigan Avenue.

She met the man of her dreams, Dale Bobbitt, at the bank. They were married July 4, 1958 in Montana. Dale was an electronics wizard all his life. He and Peggy have three children and nine grandchildren, and live in Spokane, WA.

The last Bird to migrate was Betty Bird of Stevensville. She came to this area often to visit family. The Birds spent a lot of time camping and dancing at the Wilderness Gateway on the Lochsa. It was there Betty was blessed to meet Sulo Wuori from Pierce, and they married in Missoula on Aug. 8, 1997 and danced the years away.

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