Gary Bird (1950-2001) died at the World Trade Center on September 11, 2001. He was a former member of the Kiwanis Nuevo Club who worked in the field of insurance and risk management after graduation from the University of Arizona in 1972 and became an international expert in his chosen field. His personal joy was family and riding horses. He was practically born in the saddle as his mother rode horses on the Camp Verde property even when she was eight months pregnant with him, and until the doctor stopped her.
Gary Bird lived for 25 years in Tempe, Arizona where he kept three quarter horses, riding them as often as he could, including multi-day trail rides with insurance brokers, family and friends. Gary's wife, Donna Killoughey Bird, and their two children, Amanda and Andrew also ride, but Gary was the avid one.
If he wasn't surrounded by open spaces, Gary would get edgy. In 1984, he was in New York for four days to attend a risk management conference. By the fourth day, he told Donna, "I'm really claustrophobic here, because I can't see the horizon." As she put it, "It was a case of `don't fence me in.' "
A second-generation native of Arizona, Gary Bird moved to Tempe in 1973. He had a successful career in Risk Management – including almost 12 years with Phelps Dodge Corporation. Gary authored a book called The Wrap-Up Guide, published by the International Risk Management Institute (IRMI). The book, now in its Fourth Edition, remains the authoritative work on the installation and operation of owner-controlled insurance programs. Gary's professional service spanned years on local, state and national risk management associations and many national conference speaking engagements.
Gary was very active in the Tempe community. In addition to being a member of the Kiwanis Nuevo Club (seated in the photo above), he served many terms on the Board and two years as Chairman of the first Tempe Boys and Girls Club, a full term on the Tempe Planning and Zoning Commission, and many years on the Tempe Industrial Development Board.
He was very active with the Tempe Jaycees, was once selected as Jaycee of the year, and was elected to be a Senator in 1985.
Gary Bird had been hired by Marsh USA on September 10th to become a Senior Vice President in Construction Risk Management. On September 11, 2001 he was on the 99th floor, Tower 2, of the World Trade Center attending his initial orientation meeting with the new Marsh team when the Tower was struck. He did not get out.
Gary is survived by his wife Donna, daughter Amanda, and son Andrew.