It’s a sullen, grey day when I hear the news of the passing of our friend and colleague, Birdie Monk Holsclaw.
Birdie was a mentor, program leader, and unfailing cheerleader for Colorado genealogy societies to which she contributed enthusiasm, the newest techie news, and light-hearted friendship.
Birdie, her husband Russ and their son Will were founding members of the Colorado computer interest group over twenty-five years ago. Birdie remained active in CIG throughout the years, meeting up with the TMG group in her usual capacity as advisor and guide only four weeks ago . She was an active, influential Colorado genealogist who served on boards, lectured for programs, offered seminar planning advice, and instilled confidence to the new members with her fervent encouragement and support. She was a conciliatory soul, averse to hurting feelings but standing her ground in the debate of the genealogical proof standard and ethics. She served as Colorado society president, board member, advisor, and mentor to genealogists she met everywhere.
Birdie confronted cancer in early 2009, heard a grave prognosis, then struggled through debilitating treatments gaining months of more life with family and friends. We breathed our silent “Thank Yous” to Russ every time he brought her to our society meetings, were unnerved by her progressive fragility, but then we banished illness out the room and willed ourselves into easy familiar genea-talk with her. We knew these meetings with her would end, her the cheery genealogist, respected professional, nationally-known person, who never gave up on the computer interest group she helped found, and the Colorado genealogists who were her center and her core devotees, and who followed her example and modeled her work.
We all knew this was coming. We deal in past lives and read gravestones, we’ve already endured loss of loved ones, but it never lightens when it happens again. It’s hard to believe she’s gone, but her suffering is over and our loss remains.
She will be missed for a long time.