Birdie Diaz Smiekel
June 11, 1947 – February 11, 2010
Birdie Diaz Smiekel was born on June 11, 1947 in Los Angeles to Miguel Diaz and Helen Chaparro. Birdie and her family lived in Casablanca and Madrid from 1958 to 1963. She loved to explore the city and attended school with children of military families from all over the United States. From an early age anyone who made contact with Birdie described her as being so kind and likable. Birdie was an extra in the epic movie Fifty-Five Days at Peking which was being filmed outside Madrid. The producers were so impressed with her looks and natural elegance that they recruited her as a model for several weeks after the filming was complete.
Her first job was working at Edwards Air Force Base with top secret security clearance alongside fighter pilots for over two years. While she liked working on the base she did not enjoy Palmdale and became a flight attendant with Western Air in 1968 based in San Francisco. Working for Western enabled her to travel and meet new people every day. She worked with the airlines for over twenty-five years transferring to Los Angeles after Delta purchased Western.
Birdie married her best friend, Patrick Smiekel, on July 4, 1984 aboard a boat in Lake Tahoe. Birdie loved all sports including tennis, windsurfing, water and snow skiing, hiking and golf. Her first passion was tennis and she became a class A tennis player; she loved to defeat the men whenever she could. Her grace and strength allowed her to be an exceptionally beautiful skier both on snow and water to the point where people would stand and gaze at her abilities.
In the late 80’s she developed an avid interest in golf which turned into a life long passion. She was captain of three different golf teams and involved in coordinating many tournaments where she received high praise because of her likable attitude and ability to make other people feel comfortable. Birdie had six holes in one over her life; the last one six months ago while she was being treated with chemotherapy to fight lung cancer. Due to her amazing attitude toward life, most people around her never realized she was sick battling cancer. She excelled at all she did and never gave up. She loved her dogs and would walk them extensively through the mountains and on the beach even while fighting stage three cancer.
Birdie and Pat shared over 25 wonderful years together where they traveled the world on bike trips, car rallies, ski trips in helicopters to remote locations to find powder, mountain hikes, and various other vacations. These trips took the couple to Italy, Scotland, Ireland, New Zealand, and all over the United States. When in Scotland they played most of the Royal golf courses plus many of the local courses. Birdie was also fortunate enough to walk Augusta National with the head pro one year before the start of the Masters. They loved to hike through the Sierra Nevada and Cascade mountains.
San Francisco was Birdie’s favorite city, but she loved living with Pat in Incline Village, Newport Beach, Rancho Santa Fe and Santa Barbara. Birdie made deep lasting relationships everywhere she lived and will be sadly missed by all who knew her. Birdie had a gift to touch the lives of everyone around her. She was selfless, caring, forgiving, genuine, strong and beautiful.
Birdie will be loved and missed always by her countless friends, her sister, Jeanne Hassinger, and her two nephews, Ray and Christian. She is loved and sadly missed by her sister-in-law, Jill George. Birdie will be sorely missed by Pat’s son, Jason, whom she accepted into her life from the moment she met him. Jason would travel with Birdie and Pat all over California and she would always put him first when he would visit. She was the only person who could balance their father and son relationship. She will be deeply missed and loved forever by her husband and best friend, Pat, as they were together every step of the way doing all of the sports, travel, and daily living together. They were one person with two bodies.