Stuart was born in Mansfield, Louisiana.
He will be lovingly remembered by his wife of 39 years, Sharon; children: Tracy & David Modlin, Adam Bird, Ginger & Alan Colston, Kyle Bird, Holly & Eric Lyddy; grandchildren: Jacob & Abigail Bird, Braden Bird, Kyle Modlin, Landry & Maddux Lyddy, Patrick, Paige, and Payton Colston; uncle, Betty & Noel Tipton; his beloved golden retriever, Simon; as well as numerous friends, colleagues, and former students.
He graduated from Many High School, Many, Louisiana, in 1966. He attended Stephen F. Austin State University and Northwestern State University in Natchitoches, Louisiana, graduating from Northwestern with a bachelor’s degree in music education and a master’s degree in educational administration.
At 19 he began teaching band, the start of a 47-year career in education. Stuart was band director in Natchitoches Parish schools, Many High School, and Carthage High School. He also served as Director of Fine Arts for the Carthage Independent School District. As a director, he sought to instill his motto of “pride and character” in his students—in their individual performances, in the performance of the band, and in their lives. His award-winning bands were known for their precision drills and quality of sound. Stuart instilled enthusiasm for excellence with his “one more time” for good measure.
Stuart moved from the classroom to administration, serving as principal at Carthage High School and Jacksonville High School. He also served as superintendent for Jacksonville Independent School District, and after a brief retirement, superintendent for Troup Independent School District and interim assistant superintendent for Tyler Independent School District. Stuart’s common sense, attention to detail, love of people and his personal belief in pride and character made him a natural for his colleagues, parents, students, and personnel.
Always the educator, Stuart was a clinician for all-district and all-region bands throughout Louisiana and Texas and was a judge for numerous band contests in Arkansas, Louisiana, and Texas. Throughout his career, Stuart continued to mentor young administrators, teachers, and band directors so that they could become masters in their own fields.
Stuart was the recipient of the Hall of Distinguished Educators, College of Education at Northwestern State University, and the Northwestern State University Alumni Band Director of the Year in 1992. He was a member of various organizations, ranging from educational affiliations to civic interests as well as honorary memberships. One of his most cherished experiences was being inducted into the Carthage Band Hall of Fame which included having Dr. Timothy Rhea, Director of Bands at Texas A&M University, compose a march in honor of Stuart. He was filled with pride hearing “Bird’s Battlin’ Brigade” for this first time.
Stuart Bird loved life and loved people. He was excited about everything and everyone that crossed his path. He was an avid hunter, outdoorsman and a sporting clay enthusiast, whose competitive nature made him want to always be the best, at the same time bringing out the best in others. He was genuinely outgoing and friendly and never met a stranger. Stuart always had a story to tell and a hug to share. He was a devoted family man and a loyal friend. He was one of those rare individuals who made others feel that they were better people for having known him.
A tribute to his life will be held at a later date.
Memorial donations may be made to the Stuart Bird Scholarship Fund.
Austin Bank 507 W Duval St. Troup, TX 75789.
Inquiries can be made to Jarrod Wallum at Jwallum@austinbank.com
Arrangements are under the directions of Cottle Funeral Home, Troup.
The family will announce services at a later date.
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