Vail Daily column: Jeanne Bridget Bird ‘Biddy’ O’Dwyer, 1925-2014
Ryan Summerlin August 5, 2014
Jeanne Bridget Bird “Biddy” O’Dwyer was born March 13, 1925, in Dallas, Texas, to Julia Shay and George Hedden Bird. She went to be with her Lord on Aug. 2, 2014 — fittingly reunited with her late husband, Tommy, on what would have been their 64th wedding anniversary.
Biddy’s bright smile and contagious laugh echoed her zest for fun and family, enriching the lives of those who knew her. A Dallas native, Biddy was a lifetime member of the Dallas Country Club and a graduate of Highland Park High School’s class of 1942. During World War II, Biddy proudly tended to wounded soldiers as a nurse’s aide in Hot Springs, Arkansas. After the war, she completed her degree at SMU, where she was a member of Zeta Tau Alpha sorority. She spent a stint at the University of Colorado, sparking a life-long love affair with the Rocky Mountains. The O’Dwyers were avid skiers and early property owners in Vail, vacationing there since 1965.
Together, Biddy and Tommy made a formidable pair, pursuing everything they did with passion — from their Catholic faith and their large family to travel, civic endeavors and sports (attending 43 straight Masters golf tournaments). Despite her status as an SMU alumna, Biddy quickly rivaled Tom in her unbridled enthusiasm for all things Texas A&M, including attendance at every home football game for decades. Their involvement in Dallas sports was notable, including longtime support of the Dallas Cowboys, the Byron Nelson Golf Tournament and their beloved Texas Rangers.
In the 1960s, they pioneered the North Dallas Parents League, through which she successfully lobbied in Austin to have the legal driving age in Texas moved from 14 to 16. Biddy’s indomitable spirit was also evidenced in her longtime membership in the Dallas Women’s Club, the Dallas Garden Club, the Crystal Charity Ball, the Daughters of the American Revolution and her many years of volunteering with CARE (Chemical Awareness Resource Education) — which earned her the Margaret Sharpe Community service award in 2007. She was also a member of the Dames of Malta. On the side, she delighted hundreds of customers with her Biddy’s Bread, the recipe for which is a family secret.
Biddy is preceded in death by her parents; her husband, Thomas A. O’Dwyer; her son George O’Dwyer; son-in-law, Frank Miller; and sister, Barbara Bird. Nothing meant more to Biddy than the close-knit family legacy she leaves behind. She is survived by her daughter Ann and husband, Hugh Blackwell; daughter Kay Miller; son Tom O’Dwyer and wife, Mary; son Bill O’Dwyer and wife, Lisa; and daughter-in-law Ann Lawther O’Dwyer. She is also beloved “Granny” to 15 grandchildren: Tod Blackwell and wife, Lori; Peter Blackwell and wife, Allison; Michael Blackwell and wife, Mindy; Bridget Blackwell Treadway and husband, Craig; John Miller; Julia Miller Klie and husband, Thomas; Spence Miller and wife, Brittany; Liza Miller; Trevor Miller; Patrick Miller; Corey O’Dwyer Munoz and husband, Isaac; Shay O’Dwyer Gasaway and husband, Josh; Ryan O’Dwyer and wife, Jenny; Elli O’Dwyer Darrough and husband, Brandon; and Billy O’Dwyer; in addition to 13 great-grandchildren.
Biddy’s family would like to express their sincerest gratitude to Louise, Susan and Amy for their constant love and support of Biddy over the years. The family also extends a special thanks to Sue, Genet, Maria, CC Young Hospice and the Forum staff for their exceptional care.
The family will greet friends from 6 to 8 p.m. on Thursday at Sparkman Hillcrest Funeral Home, 7405 W. Northwest Highway, Dallas, Texas. A memorial mass will be held at 10 a.m. on Friday at Holy Trinity Catholic Church, 3815 Oak Lawn Avenue, Dallas, Texas. In lieu of flowers, donations may be made to Saint Mary’s Catholic Church, 603 Church Ave., College Station, TX 77840; Texas A&M Association of Former Students, 505 George Bush Drive, College Station, TX 77840; CARE, 5817 Hillcrest Ave., Dallas TX 75205.