By NOELLE VARRIANO, Special To The Bulletin | Published October 12, 2006
The St. Pius X High School community is mourning the death of one of their own.
On Thursday, Sept. 28, Stan Bird, the high school’s former Latin teacher of 20 years, lost his battle with melanoma. The funeral Mass was held on Oct. 2 at St. Michael Church in Gainesville. St. Pius X faculty and staff members, current and former students, and friends comforted one another at the service as they paid their respects to this gentle man who was their colleague, teacher and friend.
The sadness surrounding the funeral was lessened by the vivid, heartwarming memories shared by those who eulogized the late teacher. Mr. Bird’s quiet and unassuming nature touched the hearts of so many different people in the same way. Though those in attendance were connected to Mr. Bird in varying ways, his family and friends chose words that presented a unified image, and those present during the Mass were reminded of the little things that made him so priceless.
He was remembered as being kind, joyful and full of humility, with a contagious laugh and a dry sense of humor. He was genuinely concerned about the success of all the students he taught. To him, Latin was not a dead language. Rather, it was a connection to the past, and for him, a pathway to his faith. Most importantly, those who knew him best were reminded of his love of the Church and the Catholic faith. “Stan treasured the Catholic faith, and he was a treasure of the faith,” said Msgr. Richard Lopez, chaplain at St. Pius.
Mr. Bird was celebrated as a servant of the Lord and a daily communicant, and the way in which he lived his life and served the St. Pius school and community is an example to all Catholics.
As Msgr. Lopez said to Mr. Bird’s wife Charlene and his son Adrian in his homily, “Stan was probably met in heaven with these words: ‘Well done, thou good and faithful servant.’”
St. Pius has lost a wonderful friend and role model. He will be greatly missed.