Donald J. Bird, 98, of Bristol and Port Charlotte, FL was reunited with the love of his life Catherine (Kay) Bird on Tuesday (June 30, 2020). They had a loving, respectful 67-year marriage until mom passed away in 2015. He took care of mom all through her battle with Alzheimer’s. Dad was born in Bristol on July 16, 1921 (or July 15, if you asked his mother) and was a son of the late Joseph and Louise (Vivatoski) Bird. A lifelong Bristol resident, he enlisted in the United States Navy serving as a Carpenter’s Mate with the Seabees. He would go on to work for New Departure for 43 years retiring in 1983. He was a member of the Disabled American Veterans, and a parishioner of St. Gregory the Great Church, Bristol. He enjoyed bowling from when he was a teenager until he bowled his last game with his friends in Port Charlotte a few weeks ago. He loved to go to the pool in Port Charlotte every day to swim or, in his later years, walk in the water. He was looking forward to returning to the Dennis Malone Aquatics Center in Bristol to see the staff and his friends at the pool. Last week he had the pleasure of golfing his final game with his son, David, at Westwoods Golf Club. He was thrilled to see the staff at Westwoods who treated him like a king. He spent many, many happy hours at Westwoods since his retirement. Dad had the privilege to go on an Honor Flight New England to Washington DC in September 2018 with his daughter, Mary Ellen. A television crew accompanied them on the trip and he was featured on a Veterans Day television special. He was the subject of a feature article in the Connecticut Prime Time magazine in August 2019 discussing his love of golf and his active lifestyle at the age of 98. Because of that article, he had the honor of being asked to be the first person to tee off at the United Way West Central Connecticut’s 45th Annual Community Builder’s Golf Outing at Chippanee Country Club in September 2019. Dad is survived by five children: Russ Bird and wife, Mary of Powell, OH, Mary Ellen Hillard and husband, Barry of Medina, OH, Kitty Betancourt and Randy Jones of Berlin, Nancy Skirvin and husband, Jim of Ocoee, FL and David Bird and Barbara Wright of New Hartford and Rhode Island; his brother Melvyn Bird and wife, Mona of Milan, OH; 12 grandchildren; 14 great-grandchildren; several nieces and nephews; former son-in-law Bob Betancourt and former daughter-in-law Linda Bird. We especially want to thank his caregiver in Port Charlotte, Doreen Augello, who became part of the family and his many friends from Charlotte Square and his bowling buddies who watched out for him and helped him. Dad was a modest man who loved his family, enjoyed life to the fullest and made friends wherever he went. He was a beloved father, grandfather and great-grandfather, a friend to all and he will be greatly missed. A Mass of Christian Burial will be celebrated privately at St. Gregory the Great Church, Bristol. Burial, with military honors, in the State of Connecticut Veteran’s Cemetery, Middletown will be held later. Due to current circumstances the family will host a Celebration of Don’s life at a later date. Donations in his memory can be made to the Alzheimer’s Association, 200 Executive Boulevard, Southington, CT 06489-1052. Funk Funeral Home, 35 Bellevue Ave., Bristol is honored to serve the family. Please visit Don’s memorial web-site at www.FunkFuneralHome.com
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