22 May 2010

Birdie Monk Holsclaw, CG

Birdie Monk Holsclaw, CG. 1948 - 2010. We have lost another strong, determined, caring, sharing, and intelligent woman. Did you ever get to meet her? I met her because I volunteered to work a shift at an Association of Professional Genealogist's booth at a conference about twenty years ago. We became friends and I never stopped adoring her wonderful mind. Her interests were beyond what any human being should be capable of. (She'd comment (very kindly, though) on my ending that sentence with a proposition!)

The picture above is Birdie with Karen Mauer Green in May of 2008. This afternoon Birdie's memorial service is taking place in Colorado. I had hoped to be there but the plane fares prohibited that. I kept trying to finish this post about her but found it too difficult. Today is the day to honor her since I am unable to be there with her family, friends, and colleagues who are doing that together. 

Her love of genealogical research, volunteering in organizations, helping others, giving us instruction, and most of all her smile and excitement about everything is what she needs to be remembered for. Not cancer and not MS. Her mind was filled with her family, genealogy, technology, movies and many other things. We had many long talks about her son Will and my youngest son Pat who we decided were kindred spirits. For the last several years we roomed together (with Karen Mauer Green) each January in Salt Lake City. Talk about kindred spirits -- we routinely talked into the early morning hours about everything under the sun. Birdie was an instructor in my intermediate course at the Salt Lake Institute of Genealogy. The students were especially thrilled with her assistance during the one-on-one consultations.

The first issue of the Federation of Genealogical Society's Delegate Digest was distributed in September 1993. The first editor was Birdie, who was a Delegate to FGS from Colorado. For her efforts, Birdie Monk Holsclaw became the first recipient of the Delegate Award, established in 1993 to honor the representatives from FGS member societies.

One project that was near and dear to Birdie was exploring the family histories of pupils at the Colorado School for the Deaf and Blind from 1874-1883. Her website devoted to this is wonderful. Click here to view it. If you are unable to access it, go to your search engine and type in the search terms and view the cached version. For some reason the site is down and the family is working to get it restored. This project was so dear to Birdie because her father had attended this school.

In 2003 I was unable to complete a volunteer job and called my fellow committee member, Birdie, and she listened to my story and immediately completed the job for me.

Birdie had the right husband (Russ) and son -- all could techo speak.What a neat family. I actually met Birdie's mother Arliss Monk, CG, before I met Birdie. I was fortunate to see Arliss at the recent NGS Conference in Salt Lake City and we had some time to talk about Birdie and hug.

A wonderful tribute to Birdie was written by Julie Miller, CG and you can read it here or here Julie really captures the person we know and love. In 2003 Bobbi King interviewed Birdie and you can read that here.

I will miss my friend and her smile. She taught me something and that is life doesn't stop just because you have been handed some very rotten lemons. Joy. That is a word the fits her.

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