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Al Birdsell

Birdsell Al obit e1673121805613

Al Birdsell passed from this life on December 21, 2022 after long enduring severe pain from numerous health issues. Al was born and grew up in Illinois. He loved sports and often said that they kept him out of trouble in his younger years. He played high school baseball and football as well as both sports in college at Indian Hills in Iowa and baseball at Weber State in Utah. He played one season on the farm team of the LA Dodgers. He chose a career in teaching so he could continue to be involved with his love of baseball and football as a coach. Though he enjoyed teaching, sports remained his first love. Wanting to leave the cold of the Midwest, Al pursued and was hired sight-unseen for a teaching and coaching position at Round Valley High School in Springerville-Eagar and later accepted a position with the Buckeye Union High School District. No matter the weather or temperature, he could very often be found grooming his baseball fields, often with son Lance “volunteering.” His students would say that he had a unique teaching style! They could explain to you about the “real world,” living within your means…no whining allowed, “dots”, and much more. So many have told us how much they learned from him and what a good teacher he was. Al loved Arizona and the White Mountains, enjoying summer there. He was so happy there gardening, fishing, being outdoors working or playing…he couldn’t be happier. He was the hardest worker we ever knew and could always fix a problem and invented ways to make anything work better – in his own style. The bulletin board in his workshop is titled “Papa’s I-Love-You’s” (made by his grands). Every post-it note put on it for something we “needed” was another I-Love-You from him. Having his grandchildren with him wherever he and Barbara were was icing on the cake! He could write the most touching letters, most enhanced with his quirky caricature “art.” He was a great cook, and was known for his signature dishes.
Al is survived and will be deeply missed by his wife of 55 years, Barbara, treasured son Lance (Christi), grands Alexis (Francisco) and Steve who were his pals, his precious great-granddaughter Sarait who stole Papa’s heart away. Also, his beloved sister Arlene and nieces, nephews, in-laws, and friends who made his life so much better.
For those wishing to do so, memorials may be made to Compassus Hospice, 120 N 44th Street, Suite 150, Phoenix, Arizona 85034, The Friends of the Buckeye Library, or just say a “Humbabe” for Coach now & then when you think of him. He’d like that.
A visitation for family, friends, and former students will be held from 4 to 7pm on Monday, January 23 at Thompson Funeral Chapel.

5 Comments on “Al Birdsell

  1. Wil lmiss seeing you in the mountains and having you give me a bad time. You always called me “whistle butt” Never did figure out why.We gals will take care of Barbara for you.

  2. Al, you were a very special person to know. We loved your homemade cornbread! We wish you peace after all you have been through.
    Love, Jim and Kay Parch

  3. My strongest memory of Mr. Birdsell was that he always reminded us that the real world, after high school, was what was important. I remember like it was yesterday. All the jocks wearing their letterman jackets (myself included) and Mr. Birdsell would say “Your letterman jackets will not pay the bills”. That stuck with me throughout my life and I am grateful for it. I was also thankful that we ended up neighbors in Grandview Ranches. Lance and I played hours of basketball 100 feet away from our backyards. Peace be with you Mr. Birdsell.

    Darin Bushey

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