100519BarbaraBird.jpg

Barbara Baker Bird WALLINGFORD — Barbara Bird, a longtime resident of Hartsboro Road in Wallingford, passed away peacefully Sunday, Sept. 1, 2019, at her current home in Estero, Florida, in the company of her longtime partner and spouse of more than 38 years, Donna Anderton. She was 88. Barbara was born in Peoria, Illinois, Oct. 26, 1930, daughter of Lyman Baker and Betty Ball Baker, and granddaughter of Murray Baker, a founder of Caterpillar Tractor. Her stepfather, whom she called “Daddy,” was George Staub Eggleston. Barbara was married to her former husband, psychologist Dr. Hugh Robert Bird, for some 20 years. Together, they had three children Michael Peter Bird, Timothy Lyman Bird and Elizabeth Rebecca Bird. As Barbara’s son, Tim, recently said, “Her family is her legacy.” Barbara’s life also touched many others besides her family. She was a lifelong peace and social activist, particularly for those less fortunate than she. As a vice president of the national Student YWCA, she arranged a groundbreaking biracial campus meeting at Sweet Briar College which became one basis for integrating that college. Later, she was one of a group of alumnae who saved Sweet Briar from bankruptcy and facilitated the path to greater success, stability and leadership. In 1953, she visited newly emerging democracies for several months around the world, in India, Thailand, Jordan and Germany, in particular. Her excitement at what she saw and learned influenced her profoundly in her future work. She traveled in more than 90 countries and worked in 30. Barbara was graduated from St. Petersburg High and Sweet Briar College. She studied at the University of Washington for a year, then transferred to Columbia University, where she earned her Master’s degree in Social Work. With her husband, Bob Bird, Barbara developed a program in India for the American Friends Service Committee (AFSC), a Quaker organization which gave a prototype to the U.S. Peace Corps for its rural development work. Traveling independently and extensively, she located two-year, rural, residential placement opportunities for college graduate young people, and supported and supervised their work in the field. After the Birds’ daughter, her youngest child, Beth, entered school, Barbara worked as assistant director at Interim House in Philadelphia, one of the first specialized treatment facilities for women in the nation. Later, she developed a program for special needs children in Philadelphia which enabled them to perform successfully in a classroom setting at Parkway Day School. Barbara was a founder of the residential shelter, Women Against Abuse, in Philadelphia for battered women and their children. She established a school and children’s program on the premises for those children, which she then directed successfully. Ultimately, she became director of the entire shelter, which is among the oldest such continuing facilities in the United States. Barbara later directed Welcome House, a program founded and developed by the renowned author, Pearl Buck. During her tenure, Barbara and her staff brought more than 100 special needs infants to the United States to find them health care, new families and “forever homes.” Later, Barbara joined with her partner, Donna Anderton, as co-director of AFSC’s international affairs program in Asia from 1989 to 1995. In that capacity, they traveled extensively in Southeast and South Asia to meet a huge variety of individuals to help them facilitate small, off-the-record meetings and seminars in broad areas the participants identified as critically unmet needs in their region. Among these were the return of social work (which Mao Tse Tung had banished in 1949) to China; an international network mobilized against the practice of torture; and a variety of initiatives to address serious conflicts in the region. Throughout most of her adult life, Barbara and her family have owned an old farm outside the village of Wallingford which has long served as a second home. Peaceful and serene, with pastures, woods, creek, even a waterfall close to the main farmhouse, the property has been a retreat, an adventure, a family gathering spot, and home away from home. Generations of families have built treasured memories there, and many have since brought their young children to experience what they had previously. Barbara was an avid gardener, birdwatcher, camper and former skier and scuba diver. She belonged to a women’s group she co-founded in 1969, which continues today. Until recently, she was a bocce player. She read voraciously and played cards joyfully on Friday afternoons. She was the chair for a number of years of her regular reading group in Copperleaf, a volunteer reading tutor at Pinewood Elementary School, and a member of the Board of Directors of the American Friends Service Committee, as well as Germantown Meeting of the Religious Society of Friends. She enjoyed entertaining and cooking. A friend of Barbara’s said she was “one of the kindest, most loving, sweetest, and smartest people I’ve ever met.” She will be missed. Barbara was preceded in death by her parents and her son, Michael Peter Bird. Barbara is survived by her son, Timothy Lyman Bird, his wife, Rebecca MacDonald, Rebecca’s mother, Judith MacDonald, and granddaughter Siena Rose MacDonald Bird, of Brooklyn; her daughter, Elizabeth Rebecca Bird, her wife, Betti-Sue Hertz, and their son, grandson Mateus, of San Francisco; granddaughter Grace Elizabeth Stanton Bird; brother Dudley Eggleston; her niece, BlairD’Allessandro, her husband, Carl D’Alessandro, their son and daughter Alan and Isabella; her nephew, George Eggleston; her nephew, John Bird, his wife, Patricia, and their sons Aaron, his wife Cindy, and their children Meghan and Logan, and son Jeffrey and his wife, Kristin; nephew Tom Bird, his wife, Cindy, son John and his wife, Sara, and their children, their son, Justin, his wife, Mariah, and their children, and their son, Matt, his wife, Erika, and their children. Barbara is also survived by her spouse, Donna Anderton. A memorial service will celebrate the life of Barbara Bird on Oct. 26, 2019, at 2 p.m. at Germantown Meeting of Friends, 44 West Coulter St., Philadelphia, PA. All are welcome. In lieu of flowers, memorial contributions may be sent to the American Friends Service Committee, 1501 Cherry St., Philadelphia, PA 19102; or to Hope Hospice, 27200 Imperial St., Bonita Springs, FL 34135. Online condolences my be offered to the family by visiting www.ShikanyFuneralHome.com. Donna Anderton dkanderton@aol.com Beth Bird BethB@BethBird.net Tim Bird tb451@mac.com “Let us be grateful to the people who make us happy: they are the charming gardeners who make our souls blossom.” Marcel Proust

(0) entries

Sign the guestbook.

Keep it Clean. Please avoid obscene, vulgar, lewd, racist or sexually-oriented language.
PLEASE TURN OFF YOUR CAPS LOCK.
Don't Threaten. Threats of harming another person will not be tolerated.
Be Truthful. Don't knowingly lie about anyone or anything.
Be Nice. No racism, sexism or any sort of -ism that is degrading to another person.
Be Proactive. Use the 'Report' link on each comment to let us know of abusive posts.
Share with Us. We'd love to hear eyewitness accounts, the history behind an article.