When Bert Hurn's wife, Dixie, was sick, he promised to stay with her until the end. He cut back on his legal work and stayed home with Dixie. But with a lot of time on his hands, he began carving birds because she loved watching them out her window. He continued until being with her until death.

When Bert Hurn's wife, Dixie, was sick, he promised to stay with her until the end. He cut back on his legal work and stayed home with Dixie. But with a lot of time on his hands, he began carving birds because she loved watching them out her window. He continued until being with her until death.

However, working with wood had gotten into his blood and he began collecting local wood, especially after the big ice storm in 2007 and after the Joplin tornado. He was especially looking for "crooks" of wood because he had begun making slingshots.

Later on, he wanted to honor his late wife in some way, and came up with the idea of making bird houses as a memorial. Using a pattern for a bluebird house, he soon had about 130 houses.

What to do with all those houses?

He decided to give them away to some ordinary people who had done something special.

"Most people I give them to are not celebraties or prominent people," Hurn said, "but they have done something and got no recognition for it."

Dixie always used the term "salt of the earth," for people such as these, so Hurn writes that phrase on each birdhouse he gives away.

Recipients of his birdhouses include a man who has donated many gallons of blood. Another is a man who has mown a country cemetery for many years. Still another is a woman who played the piano at church for years, and still another was a Vietnam veteran who had Post Dramatic Syndrome but overcame it.

"I don't know many of the people I give a birdhouse to. I have just heard about them and what they do," he said. "They are usually surprised and ask why they are getting one."

Hurn stopped making the birdhouses when his garage and house were filled with them. Then one day, he had an idea about how to distribute some of his inventory.

He would like for the city to take some and put them in parks or other appropriate places, not only for their looks, but because he would like to see the city adopt the bluebird as its official bird. In fact, he would like to see it as part of a city flag, an emblem he hopes the city will adopt one day.

Schools and "rest homes," he hopes, might take an interest in his bluebird houses and put some up for seniors and children to enjoy and learn from.

Hurn is very dedicated to Neosho and thinks of ways to make it better. He was born in Granby but graduated from Neosho High School in 1942. He got his law degree at the University of Missouri and has practiced law for many years. At age 93. he still retains his license and occasionally take pro bono case—when he's not passing out birdhouses to people who are "the salt of the earth."

by Kay Hively

 

When Bert Hurn's wife, Dixie, was sick, he promised to stay with her until the end. He cut back on his legal work and stayed home with Dixie. But with a lot of time on his hands, he began carving birds because she loved watching them out her window. He continued until being with her until death.

However, working with wood had gotten into his blood and he began collecting local wood, especially after the big ice storm in 2007 and after the Joplin tornado. He was especially looking for "crooks" of wood because he had begun making slingshots.

Later on, he wanted to honor his late wife in some way, and came up with the idea of making bird houses as a memorial. Using a pattern for a bluebird house, he soon had about 130 houses.

What to do with all those houses?

He decided to give them away to some ordinary people who had done something special.

"Most people I give them to are not celebraties or prominent people," Hurn said, "but they have done something and got no recognition for it."

Dixie always used the term "salt of the earth," for people such as these, so Hurn writes that phrase on each birdhouse he gives away.

Recipients of his birdhouses include a man who has donated many gallons of blood. Another is a man who has mown a country cemetery for many years. Still another is a woman who played the piano at church for years, and still another was a Vietnam veteran who had Post Dramatic Syndrome but overcame it.

"I don't know many of the people I give a birdhouse to. I have just heard about them and what they do," he said. "They are usually surprised and ask why they are getting one."

Hurn stopped making the birdhouses when his garage and house were filled with them. Then one day, he had an idea about how to distribute some of his inventory.

He would like for the city to take some and put them in parks or other appropriate places, not only for their looks, but because he would like to see the city adopt the bluebird as its official bird. In fact, he would like to see it as part of a city flag, an emblem he hopes the city will adopt one day.

Schools and "rest homes," he hopes, might take an interest in his bluebird houses and put some up for seniors and children to enjoy and learn from.

Hurn is very dedicated to Neosho and thinks of ways to make it better. He was born in Granby but graduated from Neosho High School in 1942. He got his law degree at the University of Missouri and has practiced law for many years. At age 93. he still retains his license and occasionally take pro bono case—when he's not passing out birdhouses to people who are "the salt of the earth."