William J. Birge
November 4, 1941 – October 23, 2022
William James Birge passed away peacefully, at his home in Bennington, NE on October 23, 2022.
Bill was born in Omaha on November 4, 1941 to Adrienne Griffith and Irvin Ray Birge. He grew up in the families home on Florence Boulevard, in north Omaha with his six siblings — Diana, Bonnie, Ruth, Gary, Becky and Mike. Bill was the second born. He attended Miller Park grade school and graduated from North High School in 1959. He furthered his education at the University of Nebraska at Omaha, then served in the Army/Military Police. As a young man, he loved cars, drag racing and working on he and his brother, Gary’s, 1967 Camaro Z-28 and a silver 1963 Corvette.
On August 17, 1963 he married Connie Miller. They welcomed their first daughter, Laura “Laurie” Lynn on August 17, 1967 (their 4th wedding anniversary). Three years later, Amy Suzanne arrived, on August 28, 1970. They resided in the home they built on 99th street in west Omaha and later divorced.
Bill and his girls spent many summers vacationing and camping in Colorado, Wyoming and South Dakota. Visiting his Uncle Jim Griffith’s family in Littleton, CO was always a special part of their trips! Bill and the girls also enjoyed several winter trips to Colorado to go downhill and cross country skiing. His brother, Mike, joined them for one of those ski trips. The back roads and highways were his preferred routes when traveling. He looked forward to family gatherings and reunions held at Ft. Robinson State Park near Crawford, NE.
His family grew when daughter Laurie married Michael Turner in 1989. They have three daughters, Emily Lauren (1995) Hannah Gelene (1997), and Elisabeth “Ellie” Adrienne (2002). Daughter, Amy married Ed Pugsley in 2002.
Bill married Coni Marr in July of 1991 at Fort Hartsuff State Memorial Park in Burwell, NE, gaining son, Shaun. In 1993, Shaun’s son, Christian John, was born… their first and only grandson.
Their first great-grandchild, Evelyn “Evie”, was born to Emily & Colby in March of 2022.
Bill and Coni built a home on an acreage on Ida Street near Bennington in 1994. They planted five thousand seedling trees…and then some, many from Halsey National Forest. Bill loved having a big garden which yielded a big harvest. He had two buildings to house his tractors and engines, as well as his workshop. In 2016, they relocated five miles north to a new acreage, as Omaha Public Schools took their 40 acres and two homes to build a new high school.
His working years began at the age of 15, by spending his summers spent on Charlie Hill’s ranch in the Sandhills of western Nebraska, near Rose. After high school, he took a job as a delivery driver at Standard Beauty Supply and was later promoted to Sales Manager. Eventually, his brother Gary worked alongside him. After 25 years with the company, Bill began a real estate career with Century 21 Real Estate in 1981, and then joined CBS Real Estate in Omaha. Bill and Coni met at CBS and worked together as agents, before marrying in 1991. In 1993, they began their own building company, B&C Home Builders, Inc. until they retired in 2010.
Bill always had a strong affection for farming, ranching and western Nebraska. The mail box always held farm and ranch publications from counties all over the state. Bill and Coni made many trips to Ord and Erickson to visit their friends ranch, often helping put up hay and brand calves. Bill loved tractors, implements and hit and miss engines, which he began “collecting” during their time on Ida Street. He was a long time member of the EVPA Tractor Club. Bill loved attending antique tractor shows and showing his tractors and engines. Working in his building was how he spent much of his time. He was also a photography buff, which all began with a Canon AE1 35mm camera in the 70’s. Nebraska football was often on the radio or TV in the fall, and pizza was always a favorite.
Nothing was more important than his family, Nebraska and tractors.
Survived by his wife, Coni Birge; daughters: Laurie (Michael) Turner and Amy (Ed ) Pugsley; son, Shaun Marr; granddaughters: Emily (Colby) Camp; Hannah (Drew) Phillips; and Elisabeth Turner; grandson: Christian John Caldwell; great-granddaughter: Evelyn Camp; siblings: Diana Wendt, Bonnie (Jerry) Edwards, Ruth Walters; Gary (Pam) Birge; Rebecca (Randy) Dennis; Michael (Katie) Birge; sister-in-law, Debra (Edward) Novotny; brother-in-law, Brice (Lori) Bartusek; many nieces and nephews.
He was preceded in death by his parents Adrienne (2009) and Irvin Birge (1973).
SERVICE: Saturday, October 29, 2022, 1pm, West Center Chapel.
To view a live broadcast of the service, please visit www.heafeyheafey.com and click the “View Live Cast” button at the top of the home page.
In lieu of flowers, memorials to Samaritan’s Purse.