Daniel Hiram Birks

Aug 1, 1930 - Jun 16, 2020

East Lawn Elk Grove Memorial Park
9189 East Stockton Blvd.
Elk Grove , CA, 95624


Daniel Hiram Birks was born in Jamestown, North Dakota on August 1, 1930 and passed into Heaven at the age of 89 on June 16, 2020 in Sacramento, California, where he resided with his wife of 67 years, Ruth Mae (Sharits) Birks. He was the son of Howard Bramwell Birks and Violet Mae (Bond) Birks, and the brother of Esther Evangeline (Birks) Craig, Ariel Bramwell Birks, and Howard William Birks. Together with Ruth he raised seven children, including Dana Mae Bardon, Catherine Ruth Whipple, Barbara Jean Arteaga, David Howard Birks, John Richard Birks, Brian Daniel Birks and Robert Hiram Birks, and they loved their children “in-love” (spouses) as well. They have 21 grandchildren and 24 great-grandchildren, as well as a much-loved extended family.
From his youth, Dan loved God and loved serving people. He was passionate about telling others about Jesus Christ and His love for each of them. The Salvation Army slogan, “Heart to God and Hand to Man,” describes him well. He was also a devoted husband and father, and enjoyed spending time with his family playing games and back-yard sports, as well as camping, watching classic movies and singing. He was a musician at heart, who enjoyed singing, writing music, playing the piano and various brass instruments, and teaching youth to play an instrument. Music brought him joy – and his music brought joy and inspiration to those around him. He also loved to laugh – and to make others laugh, and he loved telling stories, of which he had an abundance. As one of his grandchildren recently wrote, “He was always singing or laughing.”
In addition to serving in the U.S. Army for a couple of years, Dan studied to be a minister as an Officer in The Salvation Army, in which capacity he served for over 65 years, along with his wife Ruth. They ministered in many cities in the Western United States, until they retired in 1995 in Sacramento. However, not one to be slowed down by retirement, and being spurred on by his desire to serve God, he took several appointments in the South during retirement, some lasting several months. He earned his degree as a Doctor of Philosophy in Human Behavior with an Emphasis in Managerial Leadership from La Jolla University in 1982, and served as a chaplain and counselor at The Salvation Army Adult Rehabilitation Center in Sacramento for several years, counseling and encouraging men in their recovery from addictions and in their search for and/or walk with God.
During his time in Sacramento, he was a member of non-profit community service organizations, including the Lions and Kiwanis Clubs. He also served for a time as the Director of Home Start Inc. in Roseville. For the past year, he and Ruth lived at Golden Pond Retirement Community, where he enjoyed spending time playing Zilch and Bingo, playing the piano, and visiting with others in that wonderful community.
Dan loved ice cream – even to the point of calling it “medicine.” One of his favorite words of wisdom to others was “Build memories!” He certainly took that advice to heart in his own life.
Dan is laid to rest at East Lawn Elk Grove Memorial Park. A Celebration of Life service will be held on Saturday, August 1, 2020 at 2:00 p.m. at The Salvation Army Citadel (address below). Due to COVID-19 restrictions currently in place, all precautions regarding the wearing of face masks and social distancing will be followed.
The family has asked that in lieu of flowers, please make a donation to The Salvation Army, 2550 Alhambra Blvd., Sacramento, CA 95817; cards can be sent to Ruth Birks, c/o Dana Bardon, 9030 Brydon Way, Sacramento, CA 95826.


  • Brian Birks says:

    Goodbye Dad. We’re gonna keep making memories as long as we can. I love you, and I miss you.

  • Mark and Cari says:

    Ruth, Rob, Stacy, Emily, Graham and Lauren,
    We will forever be grateful for having shared time with your Husband, Dad, Father-in-Law and Grandfather. He was a special individual whose sense of humor and smile touched our hearts.

  • Cathy Whipple says:

    Dad, you were filled with wisdom, discipline and the love to see others enter a relationship with Jesus,

    Love you dad

  • Robert says:

    Major Dad,

    Thank you for everything!



  • Nancy Helms says:

    So grateful to have know this man of God. He served God’s kingdom and his family well. Being stationed at the same corps in Hayward, years later, I was always pleased to hear of the ministry Dan and Ruth Birks had there. He simply lived and loved.

  • Gordon and Ann Damant says:

    Dan we loved you. You were a fine Christian and a true gentleman. It was our privilege to have known you and an even greater privilege to have worshipped with you for so many years. Sharing the word with you was a highlight of my life. Enjoy the place that He has prepared for you. You deserve it.

  • Gary Kyle says:

    What a wonderful privilege to have known Dan Birks and to be influenced by his ministry. I cannot imagine the scores of children, men and women who were introduced to Jesus by this great servant of God. His faithfulness will long be remembered, both here on earth and in eternity. Praise God! Another soldier has come home!

  • Dixie L. Dabis says:

    Major Dan was a wonderful example of a Christian. He was a friend and of help to us during our time in Sacramento. We appreciated and loved both Dan and Ruth.

  • Barbara Newbould says:

    I’ve known this gentleman for probably longer than any other friend now alive. I was the assisting officer in Everett, WA when he was in his late teens. The whole Birks family was a huge part of that corps. His older brother was the bandmaster. His sister, Esther, played the trombone. I am not far behind his demise and will see him soon to my delight. God’s rich blessing on his family now missing him so much. Love to you!

  • Maynard & Kathy Sargent says:

    Prayers for you Birks family. Dan was an amazing kind caring man. Please know that our thoughts and prayers are with you all.

  • Major Don Gilger says:

    While I never sat under the ministry of Major Dan Birks I do know several of his Children and Grandchildren. Dan is in heaven and he has a lifetime of service in The Salvation Army that lead to hundreds, be it thousands of souls saved because he reflected Jesus. Enter into your rest you faithful Servant!

  • Brian Jones says:

    Your Dad was a wonderful man of God. He never like me to call him Major. But I told him that it was out of respect that he was a true servant of God. He lead a godly life and an example to all of us. He will be missed.

  • Phil Needham says:

    Wish I had known Dan. In a way I feel I know him through the lives of two of his sons, who show the good fathering by their lives.

  • Neil Timpson says:

    I first met Dan and Ruth at the LAARC as were both trainees at the same time. Dan and Ruth were very kind and loving to me. Dan became a silent mentor
    I was a young Christian and needed someone to help me understand who I was in Christ. Throughout our Army service we spent time together on several occasions and I always was blessed by their attitude toward family with the Burks Family always came first. More then anything the Family of God was shared where ever and whenever I shared time with them. I love this man because Dan was a real friend.

  • Micki Bizek says:

    He is the best dad a girl could ask for! I love him and miss him immensely!

  • Joan E. Souders says:

    As a second year Cadet, I served under the command of Dan and Ruth Birks. He included me in some very tough decisions related to employee’s. I carried the lessons learned from him those days, into my life. So when his was a Second year Cadet he and his wife served under Gary and I. Dan and Ruth were always encouraging Gary and me. I can just hear him telling stories to Gary….and the two of them laughing. Heavenly Choir is richer with his voice. God’s peace and comfort to the family.

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