AURORA, Colo. — Douglas Robert “Bob” Birk, 94, of Aurora, Colo., formerly of Tiskilwa, passed away Wednesday, Nov. 27, 2013, in Englewood, Colo., following a short illness.
He was born to Ingvald and Selma Thompson Birk in Fertile Township, Walsh County, N.D., on Dec. 22, 1918. His childhood was spent on his family’s ranch in Tanamo, Cuba, where he lived the perfect boy’s life: sailing boats, hunting for treasure and riding horses.
In 1934, the family relocated to Miami, Fla., where he completed high school before working for Pan American Airlines. In 1940 the family bought a ranch in Marion, Mont., and Bob studied at the University of Montana at Missoula, graduating with a degree in chemistry. He continued his education at the University of Montana’s School of Law.
He married Elizabeth Lou “Bette” Bond on July 3, 1943, in Superior, Mont. After their marriage he worked for the U.S. government until the late 1940’s when they relocated to Chicago. In 1958, Bob and Bette founded Ade Chemical Co. in Tiskilwa.
His wife, Bette, died Aug. 21,1968, in Tiskilwa.
In 1988, he moved to Ocala, Fla., where he married Margaret Kellogg. She preceded him in death in September 2004. In 2012, he moved to Colorado to be closer to his daughter, son-in-law and grandchildren.
He was fluent in Spanish and to the end of his life, he would try to engage anyone, going out of his way to speak to those who also spoke Spanish. Whenever he met someone, he would say, “I’m Bob Birk. Glad to know you.” And he was. He loved people. He also authored several books.
He was preceded in death by his parents, Ingvald and Selma C. Thompson Birk; his wife, Bette; his sisters, Inger Birk and Burget Birk Boyce; his brother, Tom Birk; his nieces, Jacqueline Boyce Nelson and Doniell Birk; and his nephews, Thomas Birk and Randall Ingram.
He is survived by his daughter, Elizabeth “Marbeth” Birk Marcheschi and her husband, Michael Marcheschi, of Aurora, Colo., along with his stepdaughters, Sarah (Robie) Travis of St. Charles and Jennifer (Chuck) Barth of Princeton, and their families. He was the grandfather of Jordan (Jesse) Honea of Boulder, Colo., Ian Marcheschi of Denver, Colo., Katherine Marcheschi (Matthew Millyard) of Cambridge, England, and Emily Marcheschi of Boulder Colo. He was also the great-grandfather of Jared and Christopher Honea of Boulder, Colo. He is also survived by several nieces and nephews plus many dear friends.
A memorial service is planned in Colorado, with internment of ashes tentatively set for the summer of 2014 in Kalispell, Mont.