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Dec. 23, 1928 – March 11, 2014

David Benner Birt, of Grand Island, died March 11 in Niagara Falls Memorial Medical Center. He was 85.

Born in Madison, Wis., he graduated from Madison West High School in 1946. After moving to St. Paul, Minn., he earned a master’s degree in public administration from the University of Minnesota in Minneapolis.

Active as a volunteer in local town planning in Minnesota, he served as the moderator for the last town meeting of the City of Cottage Grove in 1966.

Upon completion of an internship with the State of New York, Mr. Birt came to Grand Island and was employed by the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development as a community planner in the Buffalo office from 1970 to 1999.

He served in the Army during the Korean War and was a member of the Army Reserve and National Guard Special Forces, retiring as chief warrant officer.

He was an active member of Post 1346, American Legion, on Grand Island and the Grand Island Disabled American Veterans. A 50-year member of the Boy Scouts of America, he earned the Eagle Scout rank and was awarded the Silver Beaver.

Mr. Birt had a keen interest in history, politics, parliamentary law and procedure. Most recently, he had made a detailed study of maps, particularly those of Grand Island. During retirement years, he also enjoyed music, reading, canoeing and sailing.

Survivors include his wife of 56 years, the former Barbara Drongeson; three sons, Kevin, Patrick and Jeffrey; a brother, E. Michael; and nine grandchildren.

Services will be at 11 a.m. Saturday in Trinity United Methodist Church, 2100 Whitehaven Road, Grand Island.