Jean (Day) Birch, age 89, passed away peacefully on May 5, 2019 after a long period of declining health. She was born on October 24, 1929, the daughter of Harland and Georgina (George) Day. She grew up in North Berwick and graduated from North Berwick High School in 1947. She graduated from Westbrook College as a Medical Assistant and, shortly thereafter, went to work with Dr. Robert Wilson, who had just opened a practice in Dover, NH. She became an integral part of the practice which would grow into Dover Pediatrics. She spent her entire career there with many years as Office Manager. She retired in 1993.
Jean married Wendell Birch in June 1951 and together they built a home and family that became the cornerstone of their lives. Jean was a loving wife, mother and grandmother and time spent with her family was her greatest joy. She had a wonderful sense of humor and an amazing laugh. She was an excellent cook and baker and enjoyed sharing her gifts with family and friends. She loved having guests come over for dinner and cards, and her annual Christmas party was eagerly awaited by all. She took great pride in her beautiful flower garden and spent many hours each summer doing battle with weeds and then rejoicing in its beauty. She also enjoyed sewing and knitting and was an avid reader. She loved to follow and discuss politics, even to the very end and had a firm grasp of many of the intricacies of current events.
Throughout her life, and especially after her retirement, she quietly gave back to the community she loved. She was a lifelong member of the First Congregational Church of North Berwick and served in many roles over the years, primarily those where she could use her excellent bookkeeping and budgeting skills. She was an active member of the Women’s Fellowship and enjoyed preparing and working on the annual Christmas Fair and other projects throughout the year. She worked tirelessly as a volunteer for the North Berwick Christmas Project for many years, helping to provide clothes, food and toys to local families during the holiday season. She volunteered for several years at the North Berwick Primary School where she helped youngsters with their reading skills. Each fall, Jean would set about making countless loaves of her amazing English muffin bread and dozens of jars of strawberry-rhubarb jam. These gifts were lovingly delivered not just to family and close friends, but also to elderly shut-ins and others who were struggling with illness or loss. It gave her a chance to not only provide a treat, but also to sit and visit with those who needed it most. Even though she rarely called attention to her efforts, she leaves a long legacy of service and caring … truly a life well-lived.
Jean leaves behind her husband of sixty-seven years, Wendell and their three children: Patty MacDonald and her husband Richard of Wells; Deb Jalbert and her husband Paul of North Berwick; and Karen Birch of North Berwick. She is also survived by the grandchildren who brought her so much joy over the years: Amanda and Brianne Westman; and Dan, Jon and Sarah Jalbert. She also had the privilege of seeing the next generation of her family and leaves four great-grandchildren, Payton, Chase, Anika and Wesley. She was predeceased by her parents, Harland and Georgina Day and her infant son, Peter.
A time of visitation will be held at the Johnson Funeral Home, 26 Market Street, North Berwick, on Friday, May 10 from 6-8PM. Jean’s family looks forward to sharing your stories and memories of this wonderful woman. A funeral service will be held at the First Congregational Church of North Berwick on Saturday, May 11 at 1:00 PM. Those who wish may make memorial donations to the First Congregational Church of North Berwick or to Waban Projects, Inc. - Fraser-Ford Child Development Center. If you are unable to remember her with a donation, please consider honoring Jean by reaching out in love and kindness to someone who needs it at this time. Nothing would make her happier. Arrangements are entrusted to Johnson Funeral Home where condolences may be expressed at www.JohnsonFuneralHomeME.com
1st Congregational Church of North Berwick
P.O. Box 565, North Berwick ME 03906
Waban Projects, Inc. Fraser-Ford Child Development
5 Dunaway Drive, Sanford ME 04073