Urban S. Bird of Unicoi went to be with Jesus on Monday, November 30, 2015 following complications from a broken hip. Urban was born in Dalton, Geo rgia to the late Frank and Amanda Bird and was the youngest of eight children. Mr. Bird served five years in the U. S. Navy Reserves aboard the USS Lake Champlain. He attended two years of college at Berry College in Rome, GA and completed a bachelors degree in chemistry from the University of Georgia. Urban took a job with Nuclear Fuel Services in Erwin, Tennessee in 1961 as a chemist. After being given responsibility for and bringing the first nuclear fuel production process online at NFS, he was promoted to Production Manager. He ended his career there as the Technical Director.
His inborn talent of painting flourished as a hobby while working at NFS and in 1973 he and his wife decided he would make art and painting his second career. He went to the Arts Students League in New York City where he studied art under the world-wide renowned artist John Howard Sanden and Daniel Greene. Urban spent his time creating original paintings and showing them in art shows up and down the southeast, resulting in his work becoming nationally known. In 1978 Mr. Bird focused on teaching classes to the community while selling his work from his studio. Since 1978 Mr. Bird had kept Tuesdays open for teaching a day and night class at Kiwanis Park in Johnson City all the way up to Tuesday, November 17, 2015, the day before his injury. He was an active member of the Watauga Valley Art League where he had served as President and Vice President of the organization. In 1997 Urban started an additional career after building Woodsmoke Campground. It had been a longtime dr eam of his and he spent much of his last 20 years continuing to run and improve the family business.
Throughout his life Urban had served the community. He was a scout leader in Unicoi for many years and enjoyed seeing his troop members go on to lead successful lives. Urban enjoyed watching football with his son-in-law, Richard. He was involved in the drive to incorporate the town of Unicoi and served on its planning board for a number of years. Urban became a Christian in 1968 and joined Calvary Baptist Church in Erwin and taught the Young Married's Sunday School Class for several years. In his final days, Mr. Bird renewed his faith in Jesus Christ.
Urban was married 59 years to the love of his life, Damie Childs Bird. In the years of their marriage, they grew stronger in love and in the last years of their marriage Urban and Damie had become almost inseparable. Urban is preceded in death by his father, Frank Elbert Bird and mother, Amanda Dixon Bird, six brothers and one sister. Survivors include his loving wife of 59 years, Damie Louella Bird; three daughters: Aldebaran Louise Bird of South Carolina, Vega Bird Crummer and husband, Richard Russell, and Alice Capella Bird, all of Unicoi; one sister, Tennessee Wilson of Dalton, Georgia; a sister-in-law, Norma Bird and a host of nieces, nephews and friends. In lieu of flowers, the family requests that donations be made to the Watauga Valley Art League, P. O. Box 2177, Johnson City, TN 37605. Visitation will be held on Wednesday, December 2, 2015 from 12:00 P. M. until the hour of service at the Unicoi Funeral Home Chapel. Reverend William Swafford will officiate a t the 2:00 P.M. service. Special friends will serve as pallbearers. Interment will follow in the Evergreen Cemetery. Military honors will be rendered at graveside by the Kingsport VFW Post #4933.
Online condolences, photos and memories may be shared with the family through our complimentary, interactive Book of Memories at www.ledfordfuneralhomes.com.
Unicoi Funeral Home, 4428 Unicoi Drive, Unicoi is privileged to serve the Bird family. (423) 743-1380.