1953 - 2020
Gerald Eugene (Jerry, Birdman) Bird, age 67, of Plainville passed away August 10, 2020 at his sister’s home in Hoxie.
He was born in Hays, Kansas, May 16, 1953, to John E. and Norma Jean (Hornbeck) Bird. He was raised in Plainville and graduated from Plainville High School in 1971. From there, he went to Hutchinson Community College. After college, he moved from Hutchinson to Wichita and worked for Hugo’s Harley-Davidson. Eventually he returned to Plainville and worked for many years as a roughneck and pumper in the oil fields.
Jerry’s true love and earliest career was motorcycle racing, where he earned his nickname, Birdman. The young man could absolutely fly around the track. He started racing as a teenager riding scrambles tracks and half-mile ovals, and with his dad John as crew chief and mechanic, he won races all over the Great Plains. He filled the house with trophies from his wins, and it’s rumored that he won every race he entered in 1972. He mostly retired from racing after the 1974 season, though he did don the leathers a few times here and there to appear in some old-timer events.
In addition to racing, Birdman enjoyed spending time with his nieces and nephews, playing cards, shooting pool, and burning up ammunition. It was rare to spot him without a Springer Spaniel by his side, and he always seemed to have an enormous cat around the house. Jerry will forever be remembered for his huge heart, his fantastic sense of humor and his distinctive Birdman laugh.
He is survived by his two sisters, Constance Von Feldt and her husband Jim of Victoria, and Janet Kaba Moss of Hoxie; and nieces and nephews, extended family, and countless friends.
He was preceded in death by his parents, John and Norma Bird; grandparents, Henry and Lillian Bird and Frank and Mary Hornbeck.
Graveside services will be held at the Plainville City Cemetery, Saturday, August 15, 2020, at 11:00 a.m. Visitation will be held at the Plumer-Overlease Funeral Home, Plainville, Kansas on Friday August 14, 2020 from 1:00 p.m. until 8:00 p.m.
Memorials are suggested to the 2021 Rooks Co. Jerry Bird Memorial Motorcycle Races-Rick Werner, First Southern Baptist Church of Plainville, Hospice Services of Northwest Kansas, or Sheridan County Benefit Walk. Memorials may be sent in care of Plumer-Overlease Funeral Home, 320 SW 2nd Street, Plainville, Kansas 67663. Words of comfort may be left at www.plumeroverlease.com