Just two months after the death of Forrest M. Bird, his widow Pamela Riddle Bird was killed in a plane crash on Oct. 8. She was 58. Forrest Bird died of natural causes at age 94.
The Birds, married for 16 years, were supporters of North Idaho public education. A Sandpoint charter school changed its moniker to the Forrest M. Bird Charter School as an effort to make sure Bird was not forgotten in Idaho history. He was an accomplished pilot, doctor and world-famous inventor.
Pamela Bird was also an aviator and it is presumed she was flying the plane that crashed last Thursday. She was the founder and CEO of Innovative Product Technologies, Inc., and the co-founder of the Bird Aviation and Invention Museum in Sagle. She authored the best-selling book “Inventing For Dummies” and worked as a consultant for inventors for 31 years. The Birds regularly donated and supported education initiatives.
Students and staff of Forrest M. Bird Charter School released this message: “Dr. Bird was a proactive supporter of the educational pursuits of young people, innovators and entrepreneurs. When she addressed the student body, she emphasized the importance of following their dreams and their abilities to change the world. All of us, students and staff, were inspired by her dynamic style to become people who help their local and world communities and use their intellectual abilities to accomplish deeds beyond their own imaginations. Pamela changed her wings yesterday and is soaring with her love in the heavens today. For us here at FBCS, she will always be in our hearts.”
Mary Jensen, who works at the Forrest M. Bird Charter school in Sandpoint, said this about Pam Bird at the memorial of her husband: “I actually met Pamela Bird before I met Forrest and she’s an amazing woman.” Standing at the podium at the wake, she then turned to Pamela Bird and said, “You’re an amazing woman and I would like to be more like you every day.”
Pamela Bird’s daughter, Rachel Riddle Schwam, who works at the Bird Aviation Museum and Invention center, said at the public wake of Dr. Forrest M. Bird that the museum would continue the mission to better the lives of youth and involvement with innovation and education.
Pamela Bird’s Cessna 182 fixed-wing aircraft took off from the Bird Aviation Museum & Invention Center at Glengary Bay last week with aviation instructor Tookie Hensley, 80, and Don Hensley, 84, aboard. Ten minutes into their journey, the sheriff’s office in Bonner County was alerted of a distress signal in the area. The Cessna was located at Round Top Mountain near Hope, Idaho. “It was just a devastating crash site,” Bonner County Sherriff Daryl Wheeler said. The bodies have not yet been recovered from the remote crash site.