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Anne LORING BIRD

Anne LORING BIRD

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LORING BIRD - Anne (nee Litchard) Anne Loring (Litchard) Bird, 92, died April 23, 2020, of pulmonary fibrosis. The very first, and very fit, resident of her then-brandnew retirement community, she had lived in an independent apartment for 12 years until oxygen dependence necessitated a move to the skilled-nursing level late in 2019. Small in stature, strong in spirit, and grand of gesture, Anne lived her commitment to issues she cared deeply about. She joined organizations and supported causes, including social justice and racial equity, first-generation and underrepresented secondary and higher education, mental health, environmental responsibility, animal rights, and food scarcity. An Episcopalian active in her parish, Anne was not the traditional pillar of the church. Inspired by membership in an international, ecumenical order that believes in the power of prayer for healing, she started a community service, naming it "Healing Under the Son." She was also a lay associate of an Anglican convent in Ontario and periodically attended Quaker services. She drew on her deep faith and grounding in religious history and theology to share her knowledge with interested listeners, often creating prayers in the moment, beautifully tailored to specific situations. In her eighties, struck by a sermon citing Buffalo as the most segregated city in the country, Anne took matters into her own hands, starting a lunch group that paired urban women of color with white suburban women-all women of faith. Between her first 17 years in New England and landing happily in East Aurora in 1966 (and Orchard Park in the 1990s), Anne didn't stay long in one place. Born in Boston, and educated in Newton and Concord, Mass., public schools, Concord Academy, Gould Academy, and the Northfield School for Girls, Anne attended Wells College before transferring to Duke University. Right after graduation, Anne became director of a young adult program for the YWCA in Lima, Ohio, where she met her future husband, Charles Bird, director of the community chest. Subsequent moves included Evanston, Ill.; Charlotte, N.C.; Toronto; and Tonawanda and Kenmore, N.Y. After years out of the workforce, Anne was eager to return to school in the 1970s, completing her master's and teaching English as a Second Language as an adjunct at the University of Buffalo. She also began studying French, eventually participating in language-immersion homestays in France well into her seventies. People impressed by her intellect and inquisitiveness were often surprised to discover that Anne was an introvert, who craved many hours of solitude praying, and studying, feeding her intellectual and spiritual curiosity. Above all, she loved to read; in her last year, she started speed-reading books she hadn't gotten to, highlighting with a heavy hand. Anne loved to sing (beautifully), swim (strongly), walk (swiftly), travel, (widely), and watch the PBS NewsHour (religiously). She was a good listener on her end of the phone line. Low maintenance in most ways, she expected both her tea and eggs hot. She didn't draw attention to herself except, perhaps, with her beautiful church clothes-and hats. In their last few months, Anne and her sister, Joan, who was also bedridden in a nursing facility before she died in October, exchanged a number of tender letters, dictated to and read to them by their daughters (usually at high volume), proving it's never too late to make meaningful connections. Daughter of Donald and Lucy Briggs Litchard, sister of Joan Wyon and Lydia Litchard, Anne is survived by her three children: Lucy Bird Masters of Burlington, Vt., and Frederick and Stephen Bird of Buffalo, N.Y.; two grandchildren: Loring Masters of Natick, Mass., and Charles Masters of Burlington, Vt.; and a number of nieces and nephews. Her grandson, Henry Masters, died of an autoimmune disorder triggered by H1N1 in 2009. The family is grateful to everyone who cared for Anne's physical, mental, and spiritual wellbeing in her final months, particularly those who found ways to overcome the challenges of her failing hearing and vision, complicated by the pandemic lockdown. Services will be held at a later date. Donations gratefully accepted in Anne's name to an organization of your choice that represents her values, including Crossroads Springs Africa, Box 242, East Aurora, N.Y. 14052 (crossroadsspringsafrica.org) or the Massachusetts Avenue Project, 387 Massachusetts Ave., Buffalo, N.Y. 14213 (mass-ave.org). Please acknowledge to Lucy Bird Masters, Box 27, Burlington, Vt. 05401.

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