Glen Edward Birchfield (Black Bart), 87, Gila Bend, Ariz., died June 11, 2019, in a Phoenix hospital.
He was born Nov. 20, 1931, to Frank and Erleen (Herrmann) Birchfield, Maywood, Mo.
Glen Edward was raised on the family farms in Maywood, attended Sudduth School and graduated from Palmyra High School in 1949. He attended Northeast Missouri State Teachers College in Kirksville, Mo. where he met Joan Louise Doyle, the love of his life. They married in Maywood on Jan. 8, 1951.
Glen farmed with his father, grandfather and uncle in Maywood as Birchfield and Gardhouse Farms. In 1962 he moved to Fort Dodge, Iowa, to manage the new Midwest Mineral Plant.
In 1969 he purchased a mobile home park in Gila Bend, Ariz., which became Birchfield Park. He earned the nickname, Black Bart, for dressing as a westerner in black. He opened Birchfield’s 76 gas station and Birchfield Stage Stop Restaurant where he could use his cooking skills.
Next came Birchfield West, a gift shop on Pima Street. In 1979 he founded the weekly newspaper, the Gila Bend Sun, performing the duties of editor, reporter and photographer until his retirement in 2017 for health reasons.
Glen was an active member of the community he reported on for his newspaper. He had been on the Town Council and was a founding member of the Gila Bend Business Association and Gila Bend Historical Society. He was a member of the Gila Bend Rotary Club, Gila Bend B.P.O. Elks, Gila Bend Lions Club and Masons. He was a board member for the Salvation Army Gila Bend Extension and a life-long Christian.
Glen was well-known as a fan of Disneyland, and he visited there several times a year with youngsters in his family.
He is survived by his eight children. David (Yolanda) Birchfield, Dayle Birchfield, Danne (Gary) Rinehart, Devon (Ray) Stuhr, Daniel (Pam) Birchfield, Darah Mann, Datha (Don) Leal and Darcy Birchfield; 11 grandsons; eight granddaughters; 37 great-grandchildren and 10 cousins.
Glen was proceeded in death by his parents and wife.
Services were held June 15 at the First Baptist Church in Gila Bend followed by a gravesite service at Pioneer Cemetery.
Pallbearers were Glen’s 11 grandsons. Honorary pallbearers were Robert Hakes and Dr. Charles Landis.
Arrangements by Ganley’s Buckeye Funeral Home.