Jimmy S. Birch, 81, of Ash Grove, passed away peacefully at 3:50 a.m on Saturday, July 15, in his home. He was born Oct. 18, 1941 to J. W. and Nina (Smith) Birch.

Birch was a 1959 graduate of Ash Grove High School, and after two years at Drury College in Springfield, he transferred to the Dallas Institute of Mortuary Science, graduating in 1962. After graduation, he served his internship at Sheil Funeral Home in Kansas City, before returning to Ash Grove to join his father as owner of Birch Funeral Homes (Ash Grove, Everton). During his career as a mortician, he served as Past President of District 9 of the Missouri Funeral Directors and Embalmers Association, and was a member of the National Funeral Director’s Association. He also served on the mortuary team at the Hardin Cemetery disaster of 1993.

From 1967-1968, he served in the U.S. Army in Vietnam. In that time, he was in the 1st Squadron, 1st Armored Cavalry, G Troop of the 11th Armored Cavalry, and E. Troop, 1st Cavalry, 11th Light Infantry Brigade. In these assignments, Birch was a tank driver, armored personnel carrier driver and a machine gunner. After returning home, he served as commander of both the local VFW Post and the American Legion Post.

Birch took pride in his Masonic work. He was a Past Master of Ash Grove Lodge #100, earning the Grand Lodge Achievement Award. He was a Past Patron of Russell Chapter #109, O.E.S., as well as a member of the York Rite Chapter, Council, and Commandery.

He was active in his Ash Grove community, over the years being part of the police department, fire department, zoning commission, and industrial development committee. He also was active in the Ash Grove United Methodist Presbyterian Church as an Elder and past board chairman.

Jimmy and Linda Tarcza were united in marriage on Oct. 26, 1963 and shared 58 loving years together until her death in 2021.

Birch was preceded in death by his parents and beloved wife, Linda. He is survived by daughter Jennifer Lewis and husband Michael of Jefferson City; son James-Michael and wife Christy of Lee’s Summit; brother John and wife Shirley of Weatherby Lake; four grandchildren: Julia Birch of Lee’s Summit; Sean Lewis of Jefferson City, Randy Birch of Warrensburg, and Addie Lewis of Jefferson City; other extended family and many friends and colleagues.  

Services will be held at 10 a.m. Wednesday, July 19, at the Ash Grove United Methodist Presbyterian Church with the Rev. Joe Crews officiating. Burial with military honors will follow in Ash Grove Cemetery. Visitation will be held from 6:30-7:30 p.m. Tuesday, July 18, in Wilson Griffin Funeral Home Ash Grove with Masonic Services at 7:30 p.m. Services are being entrusted to friends and colleagues Kasey and Rachel Griffin of Wilson-Griffin Funeral Homes.

In lieu of flowers, donations to the Ash Grove United Methodist-Presbyterian Church or Ash Grove Lodge #100 are appreciated and may be left with the funeral home.


Lawrence County Record

312 S. Hickory St.
Mt. Vernon, MO, 65712


Please Login for Premium Content