Justus Jennings Bird, Jr. , 97 of Lancaster, Ohio was born in St. Albans, WV, on October 30, 1923, the second born of four brothers. He left this life on June 16, 2021, at peace, with his work complete. He was a deeply loved son, brother, father, grandfather, and friend to many. Depending on when people met him or how they were related to him, he was known as Chuck, Junior, JJ or Justus. He was a fine example of the Greatest Generation, serving in the US Army Air Corps during World War II and then coming home to work hard, raise a family, and enjoy life’s opportunities.
JJ wanted to be an aviator, and during World War II his dream came true. By age 20 he was a C-47 pilot, based in England as a member of the 83rd Squadron in the 437th Troop Carrier Group. He participated in several of the largest airborne missions, including towing gliders during Operation Market Garden and Operation Varsity, and dropping supplies during the Battle of the Bulge.
Returning home, JJ began a long career in construction with Union Carbide. He began his work in South Charleston, WV, as an electrician’s helper, advancing to become an electrical foreman and an electrical inspector. After some years, JJ became a construction superintendent, which led him and his wife, Marguerite, to live and work in Puerto Rico, Belgium, Canada, and various locations around the United States. After retiring, in 1986, he enjoyed woodworking and working in his yard, initially in Luling, LA, then relocating to Lancaster, OH, to be closer to family.
Committed to his Christian faith, JJ was both a Deacon and an Elder in the Presbyterian Church. His favorite role, however, was serving as treasurer for several years at the church in Luling. Moving to Lancaster was Marguerite’s idea, and it worked out well. JJ and Marguerite enjoyed years of friendship and fellowship as members of the First Presbyterian Church.
He was preceded in death by his wife of 69 years, Marguerite C. Bird, his daughter Luellen Bird Steinmetz and his brother Randall C. Bird.
JJ is survived by his son Charles P. (Gail) Bird of Athens, OH, son-in-law Jay Steinmetz of Bealeton, VA, four grandchildren and eight great grandchildren, brothers Robert K. (Shirley) Bird of Hurricane, WV and Eugene A. Bird of St. Albans, WV, numerous nieces and nephews.
Funeral service will be held Tuesday, June 22, 2021 at 10:30 a.m. in the FRANK E. SMITH FUNERAL HOME CHAPEL, 405 N. COLUMBUS ST., LANCASTER, OHIO 43130 with Rev. Nathan Loudon officiating. A live broadcast of the funeral service will be hosted on Tuesday, June 22, 2021 at 10:30 a.m. on the Frank E. Smith Funeral Home and Crematory Facebook page. Friends may visit 1 hour prior to the service at the funeral home. Burial graveside service will be held at 2:30 p.m. Tuesday, June 22, 2021 in Cunningham Memorial Park, 815 Cunningham Ln., St. Albans, WV 25177.
Memorial gifts may be given to the First Presbyterian Church, 222 N. Broad St., Lancaster, Ohio 43130 or FairHoPe Hospice, 282 Sells Rd., Lancaster, Ohio 43130 in his memory.
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