EBCALA Mourns the Passing of Gib Birt

James Gibson Birt, 89, passed away peacefully at Bishop Spencer Place, Kansas City, Missouri on January 22, 2012. Visitation will be 6-8:00pm, Thursday, February 2nd at D.W. Newcomer’s Sons Stine and McClure Chapel, 3235 Gillham Plaza. Mass of Christian Burial will be 10:00 am Friday, February 3rd at St. Peter’s Catholic Church, 6415 Holmes, followed by entombment at Mt. Olivet Cemetery.

Gib, as his friends and family preferred to call him, was born on March 15, 1922, in Gower, Missouri and lived in the Kansas City area for many years. He was the younger of two children born to O.V. and Eva Birt.

He attended the University of Missouri at Columbia where he was an active member of the Beta Theta Pi fraternity. He graduated in 1943, and entered the U.S. Army, spending two years overseas as a pilot in the Army Air Corps. While overseas he met his future wife, Giovanna Matteucci, while on assignment to the U.S. 5th Army stationed in Italy. Shortly after the end of World War II, they were married in Kansas City at the Cathedral of the Immaculate Conception and moved to the Oklahoma panhandle. He and his family settled there and owned a cattle ranch.

In 1955, after several years of ranching, Gib moved his family back to the Kansas City area where he worked for Northwestern Mutual Life Insurance as a Loan Supervisor. In 1961 he and his brother began developing garden apartments in Kansas City’s northland, as well as the Country Club Plaza area.

Gib was well liked by his many friends and associates, and he always looked forward to meeting new people and debating the finer points of classical music, politics, religion and history. He appreciated the opera and theatre, and regularly attended the Kansas City Symphony and Lyric Opera performances. He took up skiing and scuba diving at the age of 59 and could be counted on to travel far and wide with many friends.

He was preceded in death by his beloved wife and the mother of his children, Giovanna, and by his brother, William "Bill" Birt, as well as his second wife, Carol. In 2005 he was particularly devastated by the sudden and tragic death of his daughter, Elizabeth, an attorney who had championed various causes for a cure to autism.

Gib is survived by two sons and daughters-in-law, George Birt and wife Paula, and Jim Birt and wife Susan, Kansas City; seven grandchildren, Meredith Birt, Kansas City; Tim Birt, U.S. Army stationed in Afghanistan; Betsey Birt, New York City; Alexa Birt, Kansas City; and Elizabeth’s children, Sarah, Matthew and Andrew Lopez, Winnetka, Illinois; two nieces, Jeanne Snowden, Kansas City, and Jacquelyn Birt, Scottsdale, Arizona; and many other extended family members.

The family suggests contributions to the Elizabeth Birt Center for Autism Law & Advocacy (EBCALA) or to the Wounded Warrior Project.