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Charles A. Bird, United Way executive Dec. 19, 1915 -- Dec. 13, 2005

Charles A. Bird, a retired United Way executive, died of cancer last Tuesday after a three-day stay in the Center for Hospice & Palliative Care, Cheektowaga. He was 89.

Mr. Bird's family said he had been "the fully engaged guest of honor" Dec. 10 at an early celebration of his 90th birthday. The long-scheduled event, which included his wife, children and grandchildren, was held in his Hospice room.

In July, the Orchard Park resident and his wife, Anne, celebrated their 55th wedding anniversary.

A Continental, Ohio, native, Mr. Bird moved to the Buffalo area to teach high school history from 1961 to 1964 in Amherst and Sloan.

Previously, he pursued a career as a United Way executive. Beginning in the 1940s, he held posts in Louisville, Ky.; Lima, Ohio; Evanston, Ill.; Charlotte, N.C.; and Toronto.

He returned to social work in 1965, working for the United Way of Buffalo & Erie County before retiring in 1980.

Mr. Bird graduated from Ohio Wesleyan University in 1938. He completed his graduate course work at Ohio State University's School of Social Administration, but he enlisted before finishing his thesis.

He entered the military on his 27th birthday.

During World War II, Mr. Bird served as a medical supply officer in an Army Air Forces service group attached to a unit that dropped troops into Normandy on D-Day. Later, he served with the U.S. Strategic Bombing Survey, which assessed bomb damage in Germany. He had attained the rank of captain by the time of his discharge.

Mr. Bird was a lector and Eucharistic minister at St. Matthias Episcopal Church in East Aurora before moving to Orchard Park and joining St. Mark's Episcopal Church.

He was a benefactor and volunteer with mental health organizations and other civic groups.

Mr. Bird relished Civil War history, and he indulged his love of literature by belonging to a literary group for many years.

In addition to his wife, survivors include a daughter, Lucy of Medfield, Mass.; two sons, Frederick of Buffalo and Stephen of New York City; and three grandchildren.

A memorial service will be at 2 p.m. Dec. 29 in St. Mark's Episcopal Church, 6595 E. Quaker St., Orchard Park.

[LAKAMP]

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