At this time I am so grateful to of had Debra in my life.
Nothing left unsaid and no regrets. I have dedicated multiple posts to my sweet mother in law who has been battling pancreatic cancer for 18 months. I wrote my posts in advanced so that she would know before hand what an impact she had made in my life. I loved how she would read my posts, make comments both virtually and verbally about my posts and blog, even when they weren’t about her.
She is a remarkable women to say the least. I have loved reading everyones memories of her and look forward to celebrating her life this coming up Thursday.
It’s pretty crazy to think these photos were just taken 2 weeks ago. I just love the way Debra sparkles in these photos.
The other night I got the phone call that she had passed and had gone to heaven in the comfort and love of her home amongst her husband and loved ones. She left us in the place where she put all her heart and soul into. We traveled to NJ as fast as we could. I will forever hold the memory and remember watching her being taken out of her home. We didn’t know at the time but this was last time we would be seeing her beautiful body. For unfortunately the casket will be closed.
We found out this summer that her cancer was terminal. We mourned and wept with her about the news. The next morning she turned the topic into a positive one. She made a bucket list of vacations she wanted to do. We planned a family Disney Cruise and individual family trips that she wanted to take all of us on. She wanted to take Dallin and our family to Paris. It really was a great bucket list.
We unfortunately weren’t able to do any of it. Her health was fading fast. But what she did do before she left us was plan her funeral, made knitted sweaters, capes and pillows for each of her 25 grandchildren, she took me to get the china sets she always told me she wanted to get me, she tied up all her loose ends. We even got news from a neighbor that she made next years Christmas card and had filled out a Birthday card for each one of us for this next year. Her sweet neighbor will be sending them out to us on our birthdays. Even as she prepared to meet God she never stopped thinking of her family.
She will be remembered for goodness and love and thought of fondly and frequently.
Below I have shared her beautiful obituary.
Bird, Debra E., 66 (nee Bikman) of Petersburg, NJ passed away on Wednesday, January 13, 2016 at her home.
Debra is remembered as a woman who effortlessly balanced running a large household and multiple family-owned ventures, serving her church, and contributing to the community.
Debra’s Christ-like love and service were undeniable. She inspired and motivated others to achieve similar excellence.
Debra was born in Lethbridge, Alberta, Canada to Bill and Erma Bikman. She was the middle of three children. Her father was the son of Jewish Russian immigrants; her mother descended from Mormon Pioneers who trekked to the western United States pushing handcarts. Her father rose from nothing to become a successful businessman and prominent member of the community. Her mother was the ideal homemaker, successful entrepreneur, and golf hustler.
Debra achieved success at a young age. She knit, modeled, and sold clothes in her mother’s store, scored #1 in Alberta’s matriculation exam, and excelled in athletics. She attended Brigham Young University where she majored in English and met her husband, Ronald Craig Bird.
Debra and Craig had their first 8 kids while living primarily in Las Vegas, NV. In 1986, she and her family moved to Upper Township NJ, where they grew their family to 11 kids.
In 1989, Debra designed and settled the family into their current home, which became knows as the “Bird Compound,” and as “Babba’s house.” Debra opened her home to family, friends, and the community and established it as a place that fully embraced the mantra “work hard, play hard.” Countless neighborhood kids could tell stories of coming to play at the Bird’s home, only to be Tom Sawyered.
Her legacy lives on through her husband, 11 kids, 25 grandkids and counting, and the lives of all those whom she so deeply influenced. Til we meet again.
Surviving are her husband, R. Craig Bird of Petersburg, NJ, 11 children, Valerie Bird of Utah, Ryan Bird of Texas, Darrin Bird (Becky) of Ocean View, NJ, Bandon Bird (Michael Ann) of Cherry Hill, NJ, Dallin Bird (Shannon) of Utah, Devin Bird (Lynette) of Petersburg, NJ, Lorin Bird (Brenda) of Seattle, WA, Marissa Jensen (Steve) of Utah, Logan Bird (Lauren) of Marshallville, NJ, Janelle Payne (Bryan) of Michigan, Alisha Bird of Utah, 25 grandchildren and counting, her parents, William and Erma Bikman, two brothers, Gary Bikman and Shane Bikman all of Canada.
Her Funeral Service will be offered Thursday at twelve o’clock noon from the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints, 624 Zion Road, Egg Harbor Township, NJ where friends may call from ten o’clock until the time of service. Burial will follow in Seaside Cemetery, Palermo, NJ.