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Ronald R. Birr

February 3, 1943 ~ April 23, 2021 (age 78)


On April 23, 2021, Ron Birr, 78, of Oregon, Illinois passed away peacefully, after suffering an extended illness (Parkinsonism/Lewy Body Dementia.) Ronald Raymond Birr was born in Elmhurst, Illinois on February 3, 1943 to Raymond and Dorothea (nee Reschke) Birr of the Wheaton-Lombard, IL area. Ron was a 1961 graduate of Wheaton High School.

Ron and his family were residents of Wheaton until 1969, when they moved to Kewanee, Illinois. In 1973, they moved to Galva until their final move to Oregon, Illinois in 1999.

Ron’s greatest achievement was his family.  He married Janice C. Reese in Elmhurst, Il on April 4, 1964. Ron & Jan celebrated their 57th Anniversary, this April.  He was an amazing family man, loving husband and father to Jeffrey R. Birr, Laura Brown, and father-in-law to Jim Brown all of Dixon. Adoring nephew to Aunt Marge (Mrs. Earl Michaels) of Lombard. Brother-in Law to Dennis (Marty) Reese of Albuquerque, NM; Betty (Mark) Chartrand of Washington, MO; Dr. Ned (Wanda) Owens-Reese of Onalaska, WI; Barbara (Ron) Thomas of Marietta, GA; John (Luana) Reese of Strongsville, OH; Kathleen Walton of Carol Stream, IL; Joe Reese of Dalton, GA; Bob (Sue) Reese of LaGrange, IL; Jim Wilde of Mesa, IL. Uncle to many nieces and nephews. Cousin to Barry Birr of Easton, MO; Bruce Birr of Grand Junction, CO; Barbara Birr of CO; Elm Birr of Fruita, CO; Diane Reschke Immenga of Fountain Hills, AZ; Kathy Allendorfer of OK; Joanne Westerholm of Joliet, IL. 

Preceded in death by his parents, sister Margaret Wilde, nephew, David Wilde and many aunts, uncles & cousins.

Man of many talents. Ron designed and built furniture, painted outdoor scenes and was a voracious reader of history & politics. He was a devotee of western movies. As anyone who met him in person could attest, Ron was also a connoisseur of comedy, good jokes and puns. He was socially conscious, always looking out for the underdog and was an example of quiet service in the community. 

Ron enjoyed his solitude and had an enthusiasm for outdoor adventure, which was contagious.  He was an avid bicyclist and happiest riding on the open roads and bike trails or paddling on peaceful waters, in a canoe. In fact, according to his recently discovered, meticulously documented bicycle mileage, in 32 years (from 1985-2017) he rode over 48,246 miles. That is twice around the earth!!  If he could share these experiences with friends and family, all the better. He and Jan had many bicycle/camping adventures around the Midwest. He especially was drawn to the rugged north woods of Northern Ontario and Northern Minnesota, where he requested his ashes be released, some day.  

Ron Retired in2015, from Woods Equipment Co., Oregon, IL as Sr. Product Safety Manager. He was the President/Owner of Birr Risk Analysis, Inc, Galva, IL and worked in the Engineering Administration as Loss Control Coordinator at Kewanee Farm Equipment Co., Kewanee, IL. Amongst some of his affiliations were the American Society of Agricultural Engineers, Society of Automotive Engineers, Equipment Manufactures Institute, Farm Equipment Manufacturers Association and National Rails-to-Trails Conservancy. He served on the Galva, IL Library Board, Galva Planning Commission, was a member of Galva Congregational Church.

Special thank you for Ron’s care, to Dr. Gregory Reckamp & Staff, KSB Hospital, Oregon Fire Chief Michael Knoup, Mt. Morris Ambulance Service, Polo Rehab & Health Care, Serenity Hospice & Home. In lieu of flowers, Memorials may be made to Serenity Hospice & Home, 1658 S. IL Rt 2, Oregon, IL 61061 or Boys Town, P.O. Box 8000, Boys Town, NE 68010 (Ron was a long time supported of Boys Town.)

Celebration of Life will be scheduled at a later date, due to COVID-19.


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