Henry J. (Von) Birk

Contributed report

Henry J. (Von) Birk passed away May 14, 2008, in Glenwood Springs at the age of 84.

He was born in the Bronx in New York City, to Gertrude and Eugene Birkenstein, who came from Europe for a better life. He served with the 10th Mountain Division ski troops in Italy in World War II and received a Bronze Star for bravery upon his discharge in 1945. In 1950, Henry married the love of his life, Ella Fandl, and they raised their four children on Long Island, N.Y. He was a carpenter by trade and a foreman for the New York City parks department for many years.

After retiring, Henry and his wife, Ella, moved to Glenwood Springs in 1991 to be closer to their children, all of whom lived in Colorado at that time. They fell in love with their adopted home, soon finding many other active friends to ski, hike and travel with. Henry and Ella were members of the Glenwood Springs 100 Club and cherished the friendships and community they found there.

Henry was known for his love of skiing. He taught all of his children and grandchildren to ski, as well as countless others. He and Ella skied on a regular basis at Ski Sunlight until last year. Henry also was known to be able to build anything, as well as fix anything ” from a parakeet’s broken leg to a grandfather clock. He generously shared his know-how and experience. In the last few years, he could be found regularly at the Glenwood Hot Springs Pool and the Glenwood Canyon Brew Pub.

Henry was preceded in death by his beloved wife, Ella, in March 2007. He is survived by three sons, Robert and wife, Marcia, of Littleton; Rick and wife, Jody, of Moscow, Idaho; and Bill, and wife, Nell, of Basalt; and one daughter, Janet, of Parker, Colo. He leaves behind five grandchildren, Alisha, and husband, Ryan Blue; Bobby, Ashley, Emily, and Colter Birk.

A memorial service will be held Sunday, May 25, at 2 p.m. at Farnum-Holt Funeral Home in Glenwood Springs. A reception will follow at the Birk home in Westbank. In lieu of flowers, contributions can be made to the Multiple Sclerosis Society or the Disabled American Veterans.


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