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.