Adele & Herod Birdwell

The following is one of several Collegeside member profiles written by Donna Smith over a period of several years. They tell the personal stories of some of our long-time members, some of whom are living and some of whom have gone on to be with their Lord. Their personal stories are an important part of the historical fabric of Collegeside.

With more than 30 years each in the education field and with daughters who are both 3rd grade teachers, Herod and Adele Birdwell have served Tennessee well.

Adele began her teaching career during WWII when Herod, her husband of one month, left for Europe to serve in the armed services. Teachers were scarce during the war years, Adele says, so she began her teaching career early and worked for her degrees in education later after Herod returned from the war. It took eight years of teaching full-time, caring for her family, and taking college courses at night, on weekends, and by correspondence, but Adele earned her BS from MTSU. Working night and day must have become a habit for her, because she continued to take classes and was awarded her master’s degree in education from TTU.

Daughter Phyllis remembers that everyone in the family pitched in during those years. She learned to cook at age eight, and Herod remembers training her in the proper way to wash dishes—military style!

Herod’s education career spanned 31 years, including 23 years as vocational/agriculture teacher at Hermitage Springs and as both teacher and principal at Red Boiling Springs. He became director of the Tri-County Vocational School serving Clay, Jackson, and Macon counties when it first opened in 1975.

What comes after all those years of working in Tennessee school systems? Travel! Herod and Adele have visited all 50 states, including Alaska and Hawaii, and they made two trips to Europe.

One of the highlights of their European trips was visiting with a young man in Luxembourg that Herod remembered from the war. The man, who was 11 years old when Herod stayed with his family, was very happy that Herod had found him after all those years. He was the only member of his family still alive who would have remembered Herod and the war years.

To hear about another highlight of Herod’s life, ask him about seeing the dedication of the WWII memorial in Washington DC last year along with 60,000 veterans!

Adele and Herod love to travel, but they also love their deep roots in Tennessee. They are both from farming families in Clay County.

When they settled in Cookeville, they intended to visit various churches. They fell in love with Collegeside from their first visit, though, and became a part of the Collegeside family in 1999. Their daughter, Phyllis, along with her husband Bob Birdwell (yes, Phyllis married someone with the same last name!) were already here, along with Adele’s cousin Noel Cherry.