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Henry Holloway Lonsdale Bird

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Henry Holloway Lonsdale Bird Obituary
The Rev. Henry H.L. Bird was part of the "Greatest Generation," born in the Roaring '20s, witnessing the challenges of the Great Depression, serving in World War II, and playing a quiet, but substantial role in the Civil Rights movement in the 1960s and '70s. His service to the poor, attending to the indigent and pursuing justice for the underserved was matched only by his passion for rowing and devotion to his wife, Hilde, and family. Surrounded by his loving family at home and overlooking his beloved Casco Bay and Yarmouth Island, the Rev. Henry H.L. Bird peacefully passed away on Thursday, June 13, 2013. He was 86. Memorial service: to celebrate Henry's life was held at 10:30 a.m. Saturday, July 13, at St. Paul's Episcopal Church, 27 Pleasant St., Brunswick, Maine. Memorials: In lieu of flowers, please consider memorials in Henry Bird's name to The Henry L. Bird Memorial Fund at All Saints' Episcopal School, 9700 Saints Circle, Fort Worth, Texas 76108; The Bath Area Food Bank, P.O. Box 65, Bath, Maine, 04530; Midcoast Hunger Prevention Program, 84 A Union St., Brunswick, Maine 04011; The Episcopal Relief and Development, P.O. Box 7058, Merrifield, Va. 22116-7058; and the Cundy's Harbor Fire Department, in care of B. Taylor, 45 Taylor Road, Harpswell, Maine 04079. Born in Wilmington, Del., to H. Lonsdale Miner and Samuel Bancroft Bird, Henry spent his early years there and in Chadds Ford, Pa. Beginning at age 7, he spent several months every summer on Yarmouth Island, Maine, with his aunt, uncle and cousins. It is there where he learned how to swim, row and sail; and it is where many of his lifelong skills were formed. He attended and graduated from Middlesex School in Concord, Mass. He served in World War II as a naval medical corpsman. He received an honorable discharge in 1946 and received the Victory Medal. After volunteering for service in the Navy, he attended Princeton University where he received a B.S. in biology. For his scientific research on his senior thesis, he was awarded membership into the Sigma Xi Honor Society. Rowing all of his school years, he was the captain and stroke for the Princeton lightweight crew. After a brief teaching fellowship at Bowdoin College, he was called to the ministry, and attended the Episcopal Theological School in Cambridge, Mass., where he received his master of divinity. He was ordained an Episcopal priest in 1956. More importantly, during seminary, he met his true love, Hildegarde deVermandois Brewster, to whom he was married for 58 years. His calling took him and his family on a fascinating journey, which included: St. Paul's in Bedford, Mass.; the Episcopal Parish on Martha's Vineyard, Mass.; St. Paul's in Brunswick, Maine, and summer chapels on Orr's and Bailey Islands; San Juan Navajo Mission in Farmington, N.M.; and St. Michael's Upper Fruitland, N.M.; Epiphany Church in Socorro and Truth or Consequences, N.M., and Urban Indian Ministries in Albuquerque, N.M.; South Freeport Congregational and The Down-East Cluster Mission in Stonington, Castine, and Blue Hill, Maine; and many places in between. A veteran for peace, Henry supported peaceful actions for humanity throughout the community, church and world. Though his involvement in the Civil Rights Movement was significant, it was his efforts to improve education, health and retain the dignity of indigenous populations from Maine to New Mexico that marked his substantial ministry. He was instrumental in the ordination of the first Navajo priest into the Episcopal Church. Rowing was a true passion from an early age. He was a lifelong member of the U.S. Rowing Association and the Maine Rowing Association and was active in as many Maine rowing races as he could participate in and rowed year-round in Casco Bay. Hilde and Bo were his crew. In his age group he rowed in the Head-of-the-Charles regattas until the age of 76. There was always the color orange to be seen about him and his boats. He was active in volunteering at Harpswell Islands School, a SAD 75 mentor; served at area food bank and Habitat for Humanity. He also was a diligent daily letter writer. He most recently completed and published his memoirs, "Ride the Wind." His four-legged companion Bosun, "Bo," was always by his side. Survivors: He is survived by his wife, Hilde; children, William Bird and wife, Sally, Holloway Bird Barreras and husband, Marcus, Tad Bird and wife, Patty, Paul Bird, and Anna-Sarah Bird Mueller and husband, Michael; and grandchildren, Peter Bird, James Bird, Asher Barreras, Leah Barreras, Benjamin Henry Barreras, Elizabeth Bird, Holloway Bird, Andrew Bird and Makayla Mueller.
Published in Star-Telegram on July 14, 2013
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