BIRD, Marian Elizabeth "Beth," passed from this life at 10 p.m. Christmas Day, December 25, 2008. "The strife is o' er. The battle is won. Alleluia." Beth was born September 24, 1960, in Kansas City, Kan., where her father was interning at the University of Kansas Medical Center. The next four years she lived in Columbia, Missouri, where her father was completing his general surgery residency at the University of Missouri Medical Center. Next, it was off for two years to the McConnell Air Force Base, Wichita, Kan., where she developed a great love and fascination for airplanes and flying. Finally, she and her family, now including her four sisters, settled in Muskogee, Okla., where she attended St. Joseph' s Catholic Elementary School, West Junior High School, and Muskogee High School. From the very beginning, Beth was always on the go, exploring everything with her unlimited curiosity and abundance of energy. She was given the Most Valuable Player award on her K of C softball team; but was also given the Pace award for art: the two sides of Beth. Later, Beth moved to Florida, entering the skydiving world, where she achieved a women' s world skydiving record and captained a team that won first place jumping from a jet. She also had skills as mechanic on DC 3 and other planes. Always busy with her two boys, she coached soccer, was a teacher' s assistant, taught art at St. Anthony of Padua School in San Antonio, babysat, and took her "little old ladies from the church" shopping. Beth did many other acts of charity, showing her very generous nature and loving heart. Later, she home-schooled and started her own glass carving business. Many local people have her pieces of art in their homes or businesses. What a shock it was when she was diagnosed with muscular dystrophy in 1997! No longer could she run with her boys as soccer coach. No longer would her fingers obey her to do fine line drawings. But, through the pain, muscle spasms and loss of independence, Beth soldiered on, never losing her sense of humor; her greatest asset. As she told us many times: "Blessed are those who laugh at themselves, for they will never cease to be amused." As her mother drove her to her many doctor' s appointments, although her body was wheel- chair-bound, her eyes were constantly scanning the sky, looking for thermals and watching the birds soar. Her heart and mind were with them. Beth is survived by Coralie Baker, her loving, devoted mother of the home in Ridge Manor, Fla.; her father, Dr. W.K.Baker and grandmother and namesake, Marian Baker of Fayetteville, Ark.; two sons, Joshua and John Brandon Bird; four sisters, Kathy Davis of Arlington, Texas, Susan McAuliff of Spotsylvania, Va., Jennifer Baker of St. Louis, Mo., and Laura Stanton of Shelbyville, Ky.; two god-children, Rebecca Davis and Peter McAuliff; 12 nieces and nephews; and her devoted companion and friend, Jim Stein. The family wishes to thank many loving and caring people in this long battle: Dr. Daniel McBath and staff, especially Rebbekkah Russian, MSN, ARNPC; Dr. Eric Haynes, Dr. Rudy Panganiban and staff of Comprehensive Pain Management Partners; Dr. Paul Citrin, vascular surgeon, and staff; Dr. Ronald Kawauchi, hematologist and staff; Dr. Keith Rosenbach and wound care staff; Florida Medical Lab, especially Omar; Bay Care Home Health, especially Brenda Woods, registered nurse; pharmacist, Mark; Nancy Craven, massage therapist; Tim Dunn at Freedom One; Dr. Whalen, good friend and chiropractor; Liz Heidenreich, best of friends, hospital companion and baker of goodies. May God' s perpetual light shine upon Beth, and may she rest in peace. She fought a good fight, finished her course and kept the Faith, loving God in the adversity of more than 10 years of constant pain and suffering offered in union with Christ' s suffering on the cross. In lieu of flowers, which only wilt and die, Beth would appreciate donations to St. Anthony Interparochial Catholic School, P.O Box 847, San Antonio, FL 33576. There will be a visitation 4-6 p.m., and a rosary service at 5:30 p.m. Friday, January 2, at Hodges Family Funeral Home, 14046 5th St. Funeral services will take place at 1 p.m. Saturday at St Anthony' s Catholic Church. Burial will follow at St. Anthony' s Cemetery.