DAVID ROBERT HOWARD BIRD
Born Dec. 17th, 1939 in Mickleover, Derby, United Kingdom
Died Feb. 7th, 2021, in Winnipeg, Canada
Educated at Queen Elizabeth’s Grammar School in Ashbourne, Derbyshire, and in St. Thomas’ Hospital in London, UK
Emigrated to Canada and the world in 1969
Assistant Professor, Internal Medicine, Health Sciences Centre
Partner at Manitoba Clinic. Retired 1999.
David was a happy little boy brought up wandering the fields around Mickleover, Derbyshire... part of the Black Arrow Gang and a keen sportsman with a large illegal collection of stolen birds’ eggs. At age 11 he entered Queen Elizabeth’s Grammar School, Ashbourne, where he learned to channel his very bright intelligence and to become an excellent athlete.
In 1957 he was off to London and St. Thomas’ Hospital to train as a doctor and start a life-long love of art, music, theatre, dance, literature and travel. At 21 he met his partner, Gill. After qualifying MB BS in 1963, he spent a year interning at Black Notley Hospital in Braintree, Essex.
He and Gill were married in 1964 prior to spending a year at King George V Hospital in Gibraltar. In 1965 they returned to the UK and a stint of anaesthesia at St. Thomas’ Hospital. He developed a strong affinity for internal medicine and moved to St Peter’s Hospital, Chertsey, to study in 1966.
Sons Lawrence and Owen arrived, and after he achieved his MRCPL in 1969, along with daughter Anna in the making, they all climbed aboard the good ship, The Empress of Canada, to begin their exploration of the world. Despite intending to stay in Winnipeg for just a year, they realized it allowed everything needed for a happy and well rounded family life and never left. 50 years later Winnipeg was still home but David and Gill, and their kids learning from them, had managed to backpack around a great part of the world.
From Winnipeg, he and Gill launched annual family adventures across North America (and as far as Mexico, by station wagon) and throughout Europe (by van), voyages his children still remember as one of his many loving legacies. With Gill he covered every part of every continent. Over the years he instilled a love for nature and walking in his children, through summers in the beautiful shield of the Whiteshell and stints in Derbyshire, the Peak District and the Gower Peninsula. He was a ready host to many Winnipeg friends, as most will remember him with a dish towel thrown over one shoulder, a bottle of wine ready to pour in the other hand, a huge grin and mischievously sparkling blue eyes. He enjoyed a beautiful sense of community surrounded by kind, caring neighbours in his Wolseley neighbourhood, where he was often seen out walking (… and picking up litter… “just my way of doing my bit”, he would say!). Stemming from his involvement in sports as a school-boy in Derby, he loved watching rugby and soccer (especially in retirement), but becoming Canadian he embraced hockey too and enjoyed hours watching his son, and then grandkids, playing in the local rinks. He had a voracious appetite for art, music, knowledge and books (and food!); he always loved to engage in discussions where he could question and learn from others. It seemed as if he had read everything and never forgot anything. (He was also known to circle with a red pen what he thought others might like to read, watch and see too… so that they wouldn’t miss out!). We all learned from him to have a huge curiosity for the world and not to take any moment for granted.
He was a dedicated doctor, loved bedside teaching and his colleagues at the Manitoba Clinic. In 1971 he received his MRCPC; in the late 80s he was awarded his FRCPL. David retired in 1999 and pursued his dream of holding the whole world in his head and indulging in the arts.
Unfortunately, he was diagnosed with bilateral frontal lobe atrophy in 2018. His quality of life diminished gradually. He was admitted to Grace Hospital in November, 2020. Despite excellent care and great kindness, he died holding hands with Gill on Feb. 6th. His kids especially would like to recognize the loving care that Gill gave him; throughout life they saw Gill and David as best of friends and having so many adventures together. Gill’s love, patience and characteristic generosity of spirit helped him experience the best quality of life possible as his illness progressed and right to the end.
A truly happy man, he will be forever in the hearts of Gill, Lawrence (Maria, Akio, Maya and Sasha), Owen (Karin and Slips), Anna (Stephen, Morgan and River), his sister Valerie (Mike), his sisters-in-law “the girls” Judy (Jim), Penny (John), Vyvie (Dave), and his wonderful nieces and nephews and cousins all in the U.K. and in the USA.
For all our dear friends and neighbours who are written on his heart too, we will have a celebration party when restrictions allow and the weather has improved.
David’s family kindly requests that all of his friends and relatives take a few minutes to honour his memory by watching the photo-biography above. Please, also consider sharing your own photos, memories, and stories by making use of the comment section on this page.
For anyone wishing to do something in David’s memory, please consider a donation to the Winnipeg Symphony Orchestra, one of his favourite local arts organizations.
ETHICAL DEATH CARE
Cremation & Life Celebrations
530 St, Mary Avenue - Winnipeg
Memories, Stories and Condolences
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