Bruce Thomas Bird passed away to be with his Lord after a short battle with cancer on May 10, 2022, surrounded by his wife and children at his home in Oakdale. A man of faith, Tom strove daily to spend time with the Lord, reading his Bible and memorizing scripture. He liked to say, “Give the Lord the first thoughts of your day!” His greatest joy was sharing the “Good News” of the Gospel of Jesus Christ to others: “I am the resurrection, and the life: he that believeth in me, though he were dead, yet shall he live” (John 11:25)
An only child, Tom was born on April 7, 1948 to parents Zelma Lee Lewis and Robert Norris Bird in Hayward, California. After graduating from Hayward High in 1966, he attended New Mexico Military Institute in Roswell, New Mexico. A veteran, Tom served in the U.S. Army 1969-1971.
Tom was well known for his outgoing personality which served him well over the years. He was a multi-talented individual whose career spanned across multiple industries although his goal was always the same: to provide for his family and to display integrity, good service and customer rapport. Over the years he was the manager of a fitness club, an owner of a tree trimming service “Put the Bird in your Tree,” a steel worker, an accountant, a luxury vehicle salesman and lastly, a property manager.
Besides Tom’s relationship with his Lord, his family always held the highest priority in his life. In his mid-20s, Tom took on the primary caregiving role for his own father after a debilitating stroke left his father unable to care for himself. Later, when his mother’s health was ailing, Tom cared for her with love and patience, allowing her more time in her home before her passing. His compassion for others, even at their lowest and weakest moments, was a true testament to his generous character.
He was married to the love of his life and best friend, Susan Ballard Bird for 47 years. Together, they raised three daughters: Meredith Bird-Marinucci, Alison Morrison and Robin Grabowski.
After their retirement, Tom and Susan enjoyed traveling to their “beach house” in Shelter Cove, spending time with friends, participating in a lively book club, working out at the local gym and also spending many happy weekends visiting with their children and grandchildren. From sports competitions, to musicals to birthday parties, Tom was a regular presence in his daughters’ and grandchildren’s lives.
Bruce Thomas is predeceased by his brother-in-law Jeffrey Ballard and sister-in-law Judith Ballard. He is survived by his wife Susan and siblings Shirlee and Russ Peterson of Long Beach, Walt Ballard of Jackson and Cynthia Borris of San Lorenzo, his children Meredith Bird-Marinucci and Jeff Marinucci of Rio Vista, Alison and Cory Morrison of Somerset, and Robin and Jim Grabowski of Cockeysville, Maryland. He was a devoted grandfather to Sierra (Eddie Springer), Jorie (Charles Santos), Jasmine (Anjo Martinez), Justine (Ashton Franco), Jayson, and Julia Marinucci; Wesley, Levi, Maxwell, and Leah Morrison; Astrid and Emerson Grabowski; and great grandchildren Michael, Nakai, Dominick and Levi. He was also a beloved uncle and friend.
There will be a Celebration of Life on Thursday, June 23, at Bloomingcamp Ranch, 10528 CA-120, Oakdale, CA at 5:30 p.m. All are welcome to attend this celebration. There will be a private military service and burial at San Joaquin Valley National Cemetery, Santa Nella, CA, later this month.
“Precious in the sight of the Lord is the death of his saints.” (Psalm 116:15)
The Oakdale (Calif.) Leader
The Riverbank (Calif.) News
June 15, 2022