Wendell Birch, age 94 of North Berwick, passed away peacefully on March 10, 2023 following a long period of declining health. In his final days, his beloved family had the chance to be with him and with each other, reminiscing, laughing, crying, comforting and just enjoying being together, just as he would have wanted.
Wendell, the son of Wesley and Janet (Lincoln) Birch, was born on January 17, 1929. He graduated from North Berwick High School and attended UNH before enlisting in the US Army at the outset of the Korean War. He served in Korea and then returned home, working as a manufacturing engineer at General Electric Co. in Somersworth, NH for 40 years.
Wendell was born and raised in North Berwick. He loved his hometown and never had the desire to live anywhere else. He served his community in a number of capacities over the years, including serving on the Board of Selectmen and the Budget Committee. He was a member of the First Congregational Church and supported it with his time and talents for many years.
One of Wendell’s childhood friends was a classmate named Jean Day who, in 1951, became Jean Birch. They were married for 68 years and together built a life centered around family that brought them both great joy. They provided a rock-solid foundation for their three daughters in a home filled with love, laughter and never-ending support. As the family grew, Wendell embraced the role of “Papa,” building a deep and unique relationship with each of his five grandchildren. He instilled in them the same love of family, passion for the outdoors and sense of pride in working hard and doing the right thing that defined his life. He and Jean had a long, happy and well-deserved retirement together, spanning nearly three decades.
Wendell was a true “Mainer” and embraced all the strength and stubbornness that he felt was inherent in that title. He was a man of great integrity, work ethic, intelligence, humor and Yankee ingenuity. He was a tinkerer, a designer, a woodworker, an avid reader, a Red Sox fan, a man of faith and so much more. His greatest passion was being active in the outdoors. He loved to hunt, fly-fish, garden, cut wood on the family woodlot and take care of his immaculate yard. He was never happier than when he was at his camp on Horseshoe Pond catching (and releasing) the perfect native brookie. His was truly a life well-lived.
Wendell was pre-deceased by his parents, his wife, Jean and infant son, Peter. He is survived by his three daughters who are so grateful for the gift of his love and support for all these years: Patty MacDonald and her husband Richard of Wells; Deb Jalbert and her husband Paul of North Berwick; and Karen Birch and her partner Brad Hughes of North Berwick. He will be deeply missed by his grandchildren who brought him so much joy: Amanda Westman; Brianne Westman, her fiancé James Doucette and their children Anika and Wesley; Dan Jalbert and his partner Samantha Novak; Jon Jalbert, his wife Janet and their children Payton and Chase; and Sarah Jalbert and her fiancé Joe Daigle.
A time of visitation will be held at the Johnson Funeral Home on Friday, March 17 from 5-8PM. Wendell’s family looks forward to seeing you and sharing your memories of this wonderful man. A funeral service will be held at the First Congregational Church of North Berwick on Saturday, March 18 at 11:00 AM, with a luncheon to follow at the church. Those who wish may make memorial donations to the First Congregational Church of North Berwick or to Fraser-Ford School at Waypoint (formerly Waban).
To send flowers to the family or plant a tree in memory of Wendell Carlton Birch, please visit our floral store.
1st Congregational Church of North Berwick
P.O. Box 565, North Berwick ME 03906
Fraser-Ford School at Waypoint (formerly Waban)
5 Dunaway Drive, Sanford ME 04073