Mary Luella Rose (Peters) Bird, 72, was granted her angel wings and went home to be with her Heavenly Father on Wednesday, September 13, 2017, at home in Menomonie surrounded by the love of her family.
She was born on October 15, 1944 to Edward and Bertha (Reller) Peters in St. Paul, MN. She grew up in South Minneapolis near Lake Nokomis. She attended Resurrection Catholic School and graduated from St. Benedict’s High School in St. Joseph, MN in 1962. She attended Viterbo University, University of Minnesota and graduated from San Jose State College in San Jose, CA in 1968.
In 1967, she entered the Sisters of the Society Devoted to the Sacred Heart of Jesus. In her 27 years of service as a nun, she influenced thousands of children by teaching in Watts and Compton, CA, and coordinating the building of the Sacred Heart Retreat Center in Santa Ana, CA (which services hundreds of children a week) and The Sacred Heart Retreat Camp for families in the mountains at Big Bear Lake, CA.
In her humble way, Mary Lu laid tile, did woodworking and painted buildings alongside the volunteers that she had assembled. In her early years, she taught at juvenile detention facilities, and worked with the poorest of the poor helping to gather food and supplies for families. She learned glass making at the feet of the renowned ecclesiastical artist, Isabel Pizek, who said that Mary Lu had talent that was God-given and inspirational.
In 1996, she moved to Menomonie and started working for the Parish at St. Joseph Catholic Church. She was the Director of Religious Education where she taught children and adults. She was instrumental in the planning of the Fall Festival, Tuesday’s Table and other fund raising activities at St. Joe’s. She retired in 2010.
On April 10, 1999, she was united in marriage to William (Bill) Bird of Menomonie. With this union she gained an instant family of children and grandchildren. In later years she became a special Nana to 2 more grandchildren and 8 great grandchildren.
Over the years, Mary Lu accomplished many things. She was an avid traveler finding “great deals” - nothing would stop her! Doing so, she was able to visit all 50 states, cruise the Caribbean and the Panama Canal, and visit many European Countries including the Vatican and Holy Land.
She had a love for her stained glass! She designed and installed the glass panels at the chapels at The Neighbors of Dunn County. She also made “Wine Lights” that glow in many homes of family and friends; made a front door window for her home, and made stepping stones that were sold at local craft fairs. Mary Lu had a love for gardening and her flowers. She also loved designing and arranging floral bouquets for weddings of grandchildren, nieces and nephews. She loved doing pottery and painting and had a kiln in the garage. She enjoyed sewing and knitting; making baby blankets, mittens, quilts and sweaters.
Mary Lu is survived by her husband and best friend, Bill. Children, Fred and Laurel Bird, Menomonie; Jim and Susan Bird, Bloomington, MN; Kim and Karl Dicks, Menomonie; Kathie and Mark Metzger, Menomonie; Mike and Jodi Bird, Menomonie. Grandchildren and Great Grandchildren. Becca and Jeremy Goebel, Carter, Zachary and Anthony; Beth and Paul McRae; Sarah and Josh Weltzin, Mary and Frederick; Jacob and Sara Bird; Daniel and Kelly Bird; Anna and Bryan Bergh; Angel Bird; Matthew Bird; Tina and Rich Pastor; Stacey and Andy Evans, Elliana and Barrett; Brian and Jenny Metzger, Kaiden; Dawn Metzger (Steve Mann); Mackenzie Bird; Tucker Bird. Special granddaughter Deanna Pierzina (Adam Beach).
Also survived by brothers and sisters: Rod and Marilynn Peters, Waconia, MN; Gerry and Richard Bloomgren, Newberry Park, CA; Ken and Sharon Peters, Rosemount, MN; Gil and Christal Peters, Rosemount, MN; Phyllis and Dennis Hoeben, Union, KY; John and Kim Peters, Colorado Springs, CO; JoAnn and Dale Berends, Glenwood City, WI; John Daly, New Brighton, MN. She is further survived by numerous nieces and nephews, friends and extended family.
She is preceded in death by her parents, Mother-in-law Anna Bird, son-in-law Randy Larson, brother in-law Melvin Bird, sister in-law Kaye Bird
Funeral Mass will be Monday, September 18, 2017 at 11 a.m. at St. Joseph Catholic Church, Menomonie. Visitation will be 9 a.m. until the time of service. Burial will be at a later date at Teegarden Cemetery.
In lieu of flowers, memorials may be given to the St. Joseph School Endowment Fund, a fund of the Community Foundation of Dunn County or to Camp Gray Scholarship Fund, a religious training camp in Reedsburg, WI, run by Mary Lu’s nephew, Jeff.