Retired postal worker eager to help others

| Wednesday, Nov. 7, 2012, 12:01 a.m.

James Birdsong's family, friends and co-workers knew him as a compassionate man who used his talents to help his community.

Besides helping his wife, Doris, a registered nurse, establish the first volunteer emergency medical service in Plum, Mr. Birdsong joined the Unity Volunteer Fire Department after moving to the township in 1959.

“But that was typical of both of our parents,” said his daughter Patricia Argyros of Olney, Md. “Throughout their marriage, our parents made themselves available to anyone who was hurting.”

James Henry Birdsong Jr. of Plum died Saturday, Nov. 3, 2012, in Forbes Regional Hospital in Monroeville. He was 79.

“When the call for help came to their home, whoever was available answered the call,” Argyros said. “And when my parents were together, Dad handled the driving and later the needed documentation, while Mom looked after the person they were rushing to the hospital.”

Born and raised in Lawrenceville, Mr. Birdsong was the son of restaurateur James H. Birdsong Sr. and his wife, Annis Tallon Birdsong.

He was a student at Central Catholic High School when the fighting in Korea began in 1950, said his son James J. Birdsong of Harrison City. “Dad dropped out of school and enlisted in the Army Air Force, where he was assigned to a radar unit in Washington state.”

After his discharge from the military, Mr. Birdsong studied and received his GED diploma, his son said. He met his wife at a dance, and they married in 1959.

His first job was with the Army Corps of Engineers, and he later was hired by the Postal Service, working for 34 years out of the Downtown and North Side post offices.

Mr. Birdsong's son said his father was a quiet man who never sought the limelight. “Even at St. John the Baptist, where we attended as a family, Dad was content to sell tickets (to fundraisers),” he said.

In addition to his daughter Patricia and son James, Mr. Birdsong is survived by his children Maryanne Genutis and Donna Schultz, both of Plum, and Timothy Gerard Birdsong of Washington, Pa.; 16 grandchildren; and three great-grandchildren.

He was preceded in death by his wife, Doris Jane Birdsong.

A Mass of Christian Burial will be celebrated at 10 a.m. Wednesday in St. John the Baptist Church, Plum. Interment will be in Plum Creek Cemetery.

Arrangements are being handled by Soxman Funeral Homes Ltd, Roth Chapel, 7450 Saltsburg Road in Penn Hills.

Jerry Vondas is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. He can be reached at 412-320-7823 or

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