Virgil Birdsall

10 entries
  • "I taught under Virg at two schools, Davidson Middle School..."
    - Linda Newton
  • "I have lived for many years directly across from Virgil at..."
  • "I first met Virgil in a writing class at the community..."
    - Kurt Smith
  • "Virgil was such a warm and friendly neighbor. It was..."
    - Donna Strom
  • "I first met Virgil at the care home where he was visiting..."
    - David Foes
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1927 ~ 2017

Virgil Birdsall, husband of Jean for more than sixty-seven years, has passed away. The two met shortly after Virgil completed his service in the Navy in 1947, married while he was a sophomore at San Francisco State, and happily struggled until graduation brought a teaching assignment. The two settled early in Marin County, California where he would teach and then spend twenty years as a principal in numerous San Rafael schools before retiring.
Born in a company house of the Southern Pacific Railroad in the Nevada Desert, his mother, the daughter of German immigrants; and his father, whose ancestors settled in New York in the early 17th Century; researching his roots became one of his passions. Other passions included traveling, visiting archaeological sites in Latin America and Europe, flying sailplanes, writing_a few short stories and articles were published. Banned from every singing group he tried to join, he amused himself whistling, telling stories and needling conservatives in the Columbian's "Letters." One of his favorite activities for over 20 years was hiking with Jean and their good friends in the No Name Hiking Club, in the Vancouver, WA area.
Adventures he treasured were serving on the cruiser Oakland in China during their Civil War, teaming with Jean to open Jameson's Bed and Breakfast in the Sierra foothills, and learning to be a parent to his two daughters. He often, as a principal, told frustrated young parents, "The toughest job in the world is to be a good parent; the second toughest is to be a good teacher."
A longtime supporter of environmental and progressive political groups, among them for decades, the Sierra Club. Virgil is survived by his two loving daughters, Virginia and Leslie, and their husbands.
His beloved wife, Jean, passed away in 2016 after 67 wonderful years of marriage.
Please sign his guest book at:


Published in The Columbian on Feb. 26, 2017
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