Bishop David Birney dies at 74

February 17, 2004

The Rt. Rev. David Bell Birney IV, 74, of Waterworks Road, Danville, Kentucky, died February 13 in his home. He was married to Virginia Knorr Birney.

He was ordained a priest in 1955 and served St. John's Church, York, York County; All Saints' Church, Hanover; and the Church of the Mediator, Allentown, Pennsylvania, before becoming a missionary appointee to the Church of Uganda, 1969-72, and to Botswana, 1972-75.

He served as the coordinator of overseas ministries for the Episcopal Church and was a member of the board of the National Hunger Committee of the Presiding Bishop's Fund for World Relief, 1976-82. In 1982, he was elected bishop of the Episcopal Diocese of Idaho where he served until 1989 and was the assistant bishop of the Diocese of Massachusetts until 1993.

He received a bachelor's degree from Franklin and Marshall College, Lancaster, Lancaster County, and a master of divinity degree and a doctorate from Virginia Theological Seminary, Alexandria, Virginia.

Born in New Orleans, Louisiana, he was a son of the late David Bell and Stella (Walshe) Birney. He served as chair of the Children and Family Services Board of the Christian Church Homes of Kentucky and on the advisory board of the Danville Salvation Army, and was a board member of the Heart of Kentucky United Way. He was a member of the board of the Cardinal Meadows Housing for Retired Seniors, Harrodsburg, Ky., was past president of the Danville Rotary Club, 2002-03, and was a Paul Harris Fellow. He was an envoy of the Archbishop of Canterbury to the Church of Rwanda, 1996-98, and was awarded the Broadhurst Award for outstanding service from the Christian Church Homes of Kentucky.

Survivors include his wife; sons, David B. V and Robert K., both of Danville; brother, Frank W. of Studio City, California; sister, Jane B. deLeeuw of Heath, Massachusetts; and a grandson.

Related Topics: