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Rev. Keith L. Birch (1945-2017)


Posted By: Ken Wright (email)
Date: 7/31/2021 at 17:03:23

The Rev. Keith L. Birch, 71, of Marion, Iowa, and formerly of Dubuque, was called home peacefully at 4:22 a.m. on Sunday, May 28, 2017, at the Mercy-Oldorf Hospice House in Hiawatha, Iowa, surrounded by his loving family. To honor Father Keith's life, funeral services will be held at 10 a.m. Wednesday, May 31, at Holy Spirit Parish, Holy Ghost Church, 2921 Central Ave., Dubuque, with Archbishop Michael O. Jackels officiating. To celebrate Father Keith's life, family and friends may visit from 4 to 7 p.m. Tuesday, May 30, at Holy Spirit Parish, Holy Ghost Church, where a parish Scripture wake service will be held at 7 p.m. Burial will be in Mount Calvary Cemetery. Behr Funeral Home, 1491 Main St., Dubuque, is in charge of arrangements.

Father Birch was born on June 16, 1945, in Dubuque, Iowa, the son of Leonard and Leona (Adams) Birch.

Father Birch began his early education at Holy Ghost School, Dubuque. Next, he went on to Wahlert High School, Dubuque, then Loras College, Dubuque, followed by Mount St. Bernard Seminary, Dubuque, and finally completed his formal education at St Mary Seminary, Baltimore, Md. He was ordained as a priest on May 27, 1971, by Archbishop James J. Byrne. His first assignment in service to the Lord was at St. Joseph, Farley, as associate pastor and educator. He also faithfully served on the faculty of Beckman High School for a year. Following that, he served as an associate pastor at Holy Ghost Parish, Dubuque, St. Joseph, Marion, and St. Matthew, Cedar Rapids. He became pastor of Ackley/Geneva in 1988. Father Keith also served as pastor in parishes including the Tama/Garwin/Belle Plaine/Chelsea Parish, the Blairstown/Newhall/Norway/Van Horne/Watkins Parish, with his final pastorate at Sacred Heart Parish, Monticello.

More recently, he was resident chaplain at Mercy Medical Center, Cedar Rapids, and chaplain for the Sisters of Mercy, Sacred Heart Convent, Cedar Rapids. He fully retired from his mission field on July 12, 2016, with a content heart after devoting 46 years of his earthly journey to the Archdiocese of Dubuque.

Father Keith was well-known for his personalized sermons and especially for his very special children's sermon, which he joyfully delivered every Christmas Eve while sitting on the floor among the children.

Father Birch is survived by his long and loving friend, Lois Verdow, Marion, Iowa; four nieces and nephews, Jennifer (Josh) Vize, Dubuque, John (Angie) Brashaw, Dubuque, Ann Brashaw, Arvada, Colo., and Andrew (Jenni) Brashaw, Dubuque; along with many fellow priests, friends and servants.

He was preceded in death by his parents; and a sister, Kathy (Paul) Brashaw.

In lieu of flowers, donations may be made to the charity of your choice in the name of the Rev. Keith L. Birch.


Linn Obituaries maintained by Cindy Booth Maher.
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