Bird, Ivan

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Cremation has taken place. Memorial service will be held at 11:00AM on Thursday March 8, 2018 at the Manitou MB Church with lunch to follow at the Christian Education Building of the St. Andrew's United Church at 338 Hamilton St. Private family ash interment prior to the service at New Haven Cemetery. Donations may be made in Ivan's memory to the Canadian Diabetes Association or to the Canadian Food Grains Bank.


 

Ivan Richard Bird

1952 - 2018

Ivan was born May 7, 1952 to Stan and Dorothy Bird of Manitou. He was taken to heaven on Friday March 2,2018 to be with his Saviour. He was predeceased by his father, Stanley, nephew, Steve and in-laws, Helen and Peter Wiebe. He is survived by his mother, Dorothy, his wife of 43 years, Judy, son, Jason and wife, Megan and their two girls, Rosalie and Josephine, son, Brian and wife, Sara and their two boys, Parker and Colby, daughter, Darlene and husband, Paul and their three kids, Tylee, Paige, Gavin as well as his siblings, Joyce and husband, Ron, Lyle and wife, Cheri, Pat and husband, Brent and many, many nieces and nephews.

Growing up on a small family farm Ivan enjoyed playing ping pong, torturing his siblings, which would end up with dad fleeing to safety, being able to out run Joyce by the time he was 3 (and she was 12) definitely helped. He was also an expert crokinole player and marksmen house fly hunter. His weapon of choice was an elastic band. He also loved watching hockey games as a child. His love for hockey continued watching his son and then his grandson. He always asked "How many goals Parker?". As he grew Ivans interests changed as they always do for young men, he started dating mom at the age 20 …. yes, she was only 16. And two years later they married. It was time to start a family. Jason was born March 11,1978. They figured they could duplicate him and he was followed by Brian on January 5, 1981 (the farm would never be the same), and Darlene January 14, 1983. They stopped when they finally perfected it... according to her.

Dad was always welcoming of everyone… especially of all our friends, but they'd better have thick skin. With his sarcastic wit and humor, he had something he would tease each of them about. Dad was the first one to offer advice of how something should happen or what would make it better and would often undertake the task of making it right himself. Dad loved spending time with family and friends, he would make the 2-mile daily trip to check in on his mom and dad.

And when his dad passed away Grandma may see him more than once a day just to check in and make sure everything was alright. (Don’t worry dad, grandma will be taken care of.)   He also enjoyed taking short camping trips to Stephenfield with friends or the Friday night suppers spent at a neighbourhoods friend's house. As the years went by he was blessed with 7 grandkids, which became his pride and joy. It didn’t matter that he just lost his leg or which health issue he was currently dealing with he wanted to be surrounded by his grandkids. These were his passions, he cared about everyone, even in his last hours.

Another passion of Dads was farming, which he did with his dad until his passing. The family farm started off as a cattle and grain farm, and then transitioned to pigs. A typical day might go as follows:

Wake up, breakfast (probably porridge), out to the barn for chores, then to shop to fix whatever happened to have broken in the field the day before. Then it would be lunchtime, which mom prepared. As we ate, Paul Harvey and the rest of the story would be on the radio, and lunch wouldn't be complete without complaining that mom never put spoons on the table once again while he rummaging through the mail fussing that mom must have thrown out the paper he was looking for.... again. After lunch back to the field with the recently repaired equipment. Everything would stop at suppertime so we could go to the house for a family meal. Then either back to the field or the shop to repair the equipment that undoubtly broke that afternoon. After it was dark out and after many more hours of working in the shop it would be quitting time for the day. Dad would have an evening snack and finally, bedtime.   Quite often I would drift off to sleep hearing mom and dad talking around the kitchen table. 

Dad would become a big part of many people's lives through his farm. Dad would take in any straggler.... Right Kevin?   Kevin would come to help on the farm during the summer months and then after he graduated would work fulltime with Dad. After Kevin left, dad always took a special interest in his 'third' son. As we sat in Dad's room during his final days, many nieces and nephews visited to share stories and friends messaged stories for us to read to Dad. They all ended with same theme, your farm made their best childhood memories. Most included stories about four wheeling, snowmobiling and just generally getting into trouble (there were even a few confessions. See Dad? It wasn't always us kids). Just so you all know, it made him proud to have had a positive hand in your life, and he wouldn't have wanted it any other way.

Our Family time often consisted of feeding pigs, sorting pigs, cutting teeth, docking tails, picking stones and roots…. by hand. Dad lived by his fathers motto "a stone wasn’t truly picked until picked by hand". I vividly remember Dad putting the 2140 or 4020 in slow gear hopping out and the whole family would be out following around picking stones. When the long hours of grain farming started for the year it wouldn’t stop dad from helping others. I can remember Dad coming in from swathing or combining late into the night just to start on the project of mounting old bus seats to his trailer for the passion play. Production could stop abruptly if someone came to the yard, or there was an auction sale to attend. I'm sure Dad didn’t go to actually buy anything, he just went to socialize. He built his pride and joy, no not the house which he also built, but his shop in 1989.

Although if he talked to you about it, it was never big enough and he can't believe that he let Willie talk him out of floor heat. After life with pigs Dad had more free time and enjoyed going to Rogers tire shop for a diet coke and to catch up on the local farming gossip. If you happened to stop in the yard on any given day you would probably find Dad in his shop fixing this or that probably with his trusty pliers that he carried everywhere (there are currently two old late 50s McCormicks in the shop as his winter project) or sitting at the computer looking up equipment and visiting history sites, or researching his next business venture. Some of which were building and selling hose reels, posi lock gear pullers, cinchy tarp straps, oil drain plugs, red tek, trouble lights, extension cord locks etc. Dad also enjoyed technology but as us kids can attest, couldn’t use.

Baptised in 1980, he faithfully attended the Manitou MB Church which became a big part of Dads life. Although not on the frontlines he was active behind the scenes ushering and volunteering his time to pioneer boys, different committees, and building projects, as well as the local Passion play. I think Dad particularly enjoyed ushering just so he could bug people. Deanne reminded us of when Arnold and Hilda were absent from church for several weeks and as he seated them, Dad being Dad made sure to pretend to dust their seats before they sat down. And the congregation had better thank Gloria for playing the piano. Dad didn't have a musical bone in his body but always told her if she couldn't make it to church to play the piano that week he would gladly take her spot.

The lives that Dad has touched was evident by his support group of everyone that helped him during his many illness, taking him to many many appointments.

Dads life changed forever at the age 31 with the diagnosis of diabetes. Steady doctor appointments were a norm, and only increased as the years went by. At the age of 40 Dad was to have open heart surgery but it was postponed twice due to his sore throat. Dad in typical dad fashion figured there must be a better way and the research started. A short time later he started taking chelation treatments first in Winnipeg and then Brandon. This postponed the surgery by 10 years when he finally had triple bypass heart surgery. His health problems didn’t end there. Regular eye appointments would also be necessary as his eyesight started failing. Then two years ago due to diabetes Dad had his leg amputated. But in typical stubborn dad fashion he wouldn’t be kept out of the combine. And he wasn’t. Just a small side story: dad ordered a new John Deere zero turn lawn mower without any foot pedals before his amputation surgery just so he could cut grass just in case he couldn’t get into the combine, he said it was for mom.

For the past couple months dad was always sick blaming the flu, but it was his heart causing these symptoms and he ended up in Swan Lake Hospital. From there he was transported by STARS ambulance service to St. Boniface. As it turns out this would be his last trip. Surrounded by family, at 12:30 am March 2nd, Dad was taken from us. He was at peace and had kind words and was joking until the end even thanking Susie for coming to see him only minutes before he passed. This was Dad, this was Ivan in a nutshell, always putting others first. We as a family would like to take this time to sincerely thank all the nurses and doctors that worked on Dad in the last few days, especially the STARS ambulance crew, ensuring he was comfortable and able to say goodbye to his family.

Dad we love you and you will be missed...Don't worry we will look after Mom