Steve Birdsall, former Maple Hills Elementary School teacher, dies

February 18, 2011

By Laura Geggel

NEW — 5:30 p.m. Feb. 18, 2011

Former Maple Hills Elementary School teacher Steve Birdsall, known for his Hawaiian shirts and hiking, died Friday after an illness.

“In his 23 years in the Issaquah School District, Mr. Birdsall touched the lives of countless students, parents and staff members,” Maple Hills Principal Monique Beane wrote in an e-mail to parents.

Birdsall took a medical leave in 2010 after the disease he and his doctors were fighting — multiple system atrophy — took its toll on his body.

Multiple system atrophy is a rare condition with symptoms similar to Parkinson’s disease, according to the National Institutes of Health. In addition, MSA patients have widespread damage to a part of the nervous system that controls important functions, including heart rate, blood pressure and sweating.

In an interview with The Issaquah Press in June, Birdsall said he participated in clinical studies for the disease in hopes that a better treatment would be available to future MSA patients.

Beane recalled how Birdsall introduced himself when she started working at Maple Hills in 2007.

“He was good to me as a first year principal,” she said. “He was honest. He would send me e-mails if I made a good decision and send me e-mails if he thought I needed to think about something. he helped me grow as a professional.”

The Birdsall family invites the community to celebrate the memory of a teacher, friend and family man at his memorial, 3-5 p.m. Feb. 22 at Lake Wilderness Lodge, 22500 S.E. 248th St., Maple Valley.

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2 Responses to “Steve Birdsall, former Maple Hills Elementary School teacher, dies”

  1. Tweets that mention Steve Birdsall, former Maple Hills Elementary School teacher, dies : The Issaquah Press – News, Sports, Classifieds in Issaquah, WA -- Topsy.com on February 18th, 2011 7:49 pm

    […] This post was mentioned on Twitter by Jessica Stiles, The Issaquah Press. The Issaquah Press said: Beloved Maple Hills Elementary teacher succumbs to rare disease: http://bit.ly/g7hiv8 Teacher offers a last lesson: http://bit.ly/bTMAP2 […]

  2. Sarah Perkins on February 21st, 2011 4:26 pm

    I was in his 5th grade class. I am 25 in April. He taught me a lot, with amazing patience and guidance. He was dedicated to his teaching and his family. He would bring his daughter into the class room, and she would sing songs for us. He was all about the community and helping everyone. He will be missed. Thank you Steve Birdsall!

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