Elizabeth Bird
Elizabeth Rebecca Bird
November 24, 1966 - March 28, 2021
We mourn the passing of Elizabeth (Beth) R. Bird on March 28, 2021 at the age of 54. She was born and raised in Philadelphia and moved to San Francisco in 2009. A graduate of Brown University (BA 1990) and the California Institute for the Arts (MFA 2003), she was pursuing a PhD in UC Berkeley's Department of Film & Media (2016-2020).

Beth was a scholar, educator, filmmaker, and activist, whose life path and achievements were deeply informed by Quaker values and Buddhist practices. She was a member of the San Francisco Friends Meeting. An inspiring teacher, she taught courses on film, media and art history at UC Berkeley, California College of the Arts and San Francisco Art Institute. As a filmmaker, she is best known for her feature-length documentary, "Everyone Their Grain of Sand," (2004), which won many awards. Beth was an avid hiker, birder and cross-country skier. She will be remembered for her fierce strength and determination, her integrity and dedication to honesty, and commitment to friends and family.

Beth is survived by her wife Betti-Sue Hertz, son Mateus Zacharia Hertz-Bird, brother Timothy Lyman Bird (Rebecca MacDonald) and nieces Siena Rose MacDonald Bird and Grace Elizabeth Stanton Bird.

Donations can be made to Farm & Wilderness, 401 Farm and Wilderness Road, Plymouth, VT 05056.


Published by San Francisco Chronicle from Apr. 8 to Apr. 11, 2021.
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7 Entries
Betti-Sue, I was so sad to hear the news of Beth’s passing. What an extraordinary, inspiring woman, it was an honor to have met her through you. Sending you all of my strength & love. Debbie Mayer
Debbie Mayer
Acquaintance
June 3, 2021
We knew Beth as a young girl. She was so full of life. We are heart broken to hear about her death. She was so amazing at her mother's funeral. We loved seeing her with Mateus. She was brave and courageous and loved life. What a tragedy. May her memory be a blessing.
Tina and Barbara
Friend
April 24, 2021
I remembered so much about my best high school (and grade school) friend this week, like her calling me up to read me the first page of Robert Penn Warren's All The King's Men when it was assigned to us in 12th grade. She was floored by its beauty and the only thing to do was share it. I was lucky to be on the receiving end of that. Her showing up late, with an extra-large fountain soda, at what I at least found to be a very intimating seminar at Brown ("Freud and Lacan" maybe?). In shorts and without a pencil or notebook, she would make the most straightforward and disarmingly brilliant remarks. She saw me through some really rough times in middle school. Nothing about coming of age for me would have been the same without her. I am sure being close to her later in life offered even more blessings, and I am sorry for your loss.
Jane Brodie
Friend
April 11, 2021
Beth may have been the most intensely alive person I have ever met. We are so lucky to have gotten to know her in San Francisco.

We are sending love to Mateus and Betti-Su.
Julie minoff
Friend
April 11, 2021
Beth was in my Spanish class in 7th grade at Germantown Friends School. She was such an extraordinary student, already in middle school. Energetic, gifted, engaged -- complex and full of exciting perspectives. I stayed in touch with her on and off across the years and got to meet her son a few years ago at a memorial for her mother at the Germantown Meeting to which I belong. I offer my condolences to all of Beth's family and grieve with you for this way too young loss of an extrarodinary woman.
Marion Heacock
Teacher
April 11, 2021
Beth was a lovely young presence in our lives when we lived in Germantown. With our very long relationship with Barbara, we followed Beth's life as well as we could -- third hand. The very sweet and precious moments we shared with her in the last months of her life will remain a deep reminder of her spirit, her zest for life, and her deep connection to the family that raised her in the "village" of Germantown Meeting, and that foundation that nurtured her. Her legacy of a deeply loving family and friends, and a body of important professional work are a testament to a remarkable life. With so much affection, Paula and Howard Cell
Paula and Howard Cell
Friend
April 11, 2021
I am so sad to hear that Beth is no longer with us. I knew her at Germantown Friends and then at Brown University. I was always in awe of her brilliance and her freedom. One indelible memory: a big class on Marxism, in a room with stadium seating, Beth would sometimes listen to the lectures and engage in vigorous debate with the professor (Neil Lazarus) and students from her position, reclining on the floor, her head propped on her hand. Someone—even from distance of many years—I feel happy and privileged to have known.
Steven Miller
Classmate
April 11, 2021
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