Jim Bird

From: Ted Truman
February 24, 2016

This is a nice notice. It captures Jim.  I do not know why I knew him at Amherst, maybe he was an econ major. I agree with others that he was joy to meet at reunions along with his wife, Jan. I think he also came to some homecomings? Did he play football?  Certainly he was bigger than I.  A very interesting career: Navy, business man, entrepreneur, and artist.  I have been to Captiva, just last year (early 2015). I wish I had known he was there.  We have so many wishes when they are gone.

 RIP, Jim.


From: Ralph Hanna
February 24, 2016

I knew Jim mostly because we played (well, Jim played; I ran about distractedly) freshman lacrosse together.  Good to see that he is in Baltimore Friends sports hall of fame, because he was certainly about the only one of us who knew what he was doing out there.  But tremendously supportive of us all, always, for the effort, and I am not surprised to hear of distinguished career of community activism.  He was truly a pillar.


From: Gerry Brookes
February 24, 2016

I have very vivid memories of Jim Bird.  I was an undersized linebacker or lineman on the freshman football team.  I could outquick a lot of bigger guys.  But when Jim Bird pulled out, he came low and hard and did not miss.  I can still see him coming and feel the shock.  He was in Morrell dorm freshman year.  One day some helpful classmates had left my window open, which provoked everyone going to dinner to throw snowballs through the open window.  Thanks, guys.  Someone had locked the door to my room, perhaps by taking out the plywood panel at the top of the door.  Anyway, I got the panel out and was halfway up through the opening when Jim grabbed me.  He put me in some arcane headlock, known only to wrestlers.  I’d never been so completely arrested, motionless, helpless.  Fortunately, he was susceptible to reason or maybe to mercy and let me go.  I was relieved to find myself not broken and nothing in the room broken either.  He looked strong, but he was stronger than he looked.  And all the while he was a good guy.

Gerry Brookes

From: Mark Meyerson
February 24, 2016

Jim and I roomed together sophomore year in a surprisingly spacious room, at 411 Pratt.  We became friends the year before on the second floor of Morrow, bonding over a shared love of pop music (the flip side of Ralph Miller and Ken Gottlieb, who enthused over opera).

Jim would play his acoustic guitar almost every day in our big room, usually in the late afternoon, one song or another, except:  he always played “My Silent Love,” a wistful tune from the early 1930s, singing the lyrics softly (“I reach for you like I’d reach for a star/Worshiping you from afar, living with my silent love”).  With John Newman on drums, Leon Gibbs on bass, Jim on guitar and me on keyboards, we formed a not very good band (with the exception of Leon, who out-musicked the 3 others and whose rock-steady lines managed to keep us on track).  We called ourselves The DeVilles (after the Cadillac DeVille), and played a few freshman mixers at Holyoke, to no great acclaim.  “My Silent Love” became the band’s default slow-dance number.

Jim and I remained friends for a while after graduation, but drifted apart as our post-college lives took us in different directions.  We connected again by email about 10 years ago, and while not frequent correspondents, we did rekindle our friendship, for which I am most grateful.

Warm, kind, affable, gracious, smart are the adjectives that immediately come to mind when I think of Jim, who personified for me the figure of a true “Southern gentleman.”  I will miss him.


From: Bob Holmes
February 24, 2016 

Jim was involved in many (if not most) of our reunions and other class events, in various positions.  He always contributed with his amazing energy, and (with Jandy – a remarkable woman) was always committed to our Class…


From: Jane Bergner
February 25, 2016

I recall having written to Jim when Jandy died several years ago.  I enjoyed both of them at your reunions, and I particularly enjoyed talking with Jandy.


From: Bill Amend
February 25, 2016

I agree with the other 'mates' memories. I got tackled more than once at Wilmington Friends when we played Baltimore Friends in the late '50s. He'd put you down and then, with that wonderful quiet smile, offer you a hand to pick you out of the mud.


From: Bob Holmes
March 15, 2016

There are several memories and references to Jim playing football, but none yet about his exceptional talents on the lacrosse field.  The 1962 Amherst lacrosse team won the National Class B Championship with a perfect 9-0 record.  The heart of the defense was Jim Bird, Moose Brainerd and Larry Beck.  From the 1962 Olio:

“Larry Beck was named honorable mention All American last year and the big co-captain was again a standout on defense.  Together with juniors Moose Brainard and Jim Bird and with Jay Lord in the goal, they formed a defense which allowed an average of only 4.8 goals per game.”

There is also a picture showing “Mild-Mannered Bird about to decapitate nervy attackman”.  Jim was a champion in every sense of the word.