James Theodore Birch, Sr. 84, departed his earthly home on May 24, 2018. He was born on May 7, 1934 in Kansas City, Kansas to Lillie Ruth Green and Isaiah Conner. At the age of 8 years old, he was raised by his Christian surrogate mother, Florence Ella Birch and was later adopted. He is the fourth of five children and is preceded in death by his first wife, Georgia Ernestine Jones and siblings, Charles Lyons, Geraldine Smith-Marshall, and Lillie Ruth Cunningham.
James (a.k.a. Ted, Theodore, Jim) was a proud graduate of the historic Sumner High School Class of 1953. Shortly thereafter, he worked as a laborer at Maurice Coat Company in the garment district of Kansas City, Missouri. After a few years there, he became employed at the Kansas City Board of Public Utilities. Where he progressed through many positions before retiring after 35 years of service in 1996 in the Marketing Division. He was the first African American to be hired in management at the Kansas City Board of Public Utilities.
In September 1953, James was united in holy matrimony to the late Georgia Ernestine Jones. They were married for 27 years until she expired on December 10, 1980. In this beautiful union, five children were born; James, Jr., Dierick Eugene, Martin Wayne, Pamela Loraine and Edwin Dean.
On October 17, 1992, James married Willie Beatrice Holliday and they were married for 25 years until he was called to glory.
He truly loved his church, First African Methodist Episcopal Church, and was actively involved throughout his life. He faithfully served as a member of the Men of FAME, the Bus Ministry and he was also a member of the Trustee Board.
Everyone who knew “Jim,” as many of his co-workers called him, knew of his deep passion for sports, which thrived unbridled in the core of his soul, especially KU football and basketball. He always talked about the concept of love and truly loved every member of his family while expressing and exhibiting love for others his entire life. One of his favorite and often repeated sayings was “LOVE conquers all.” He had so much quick wit and loved to entertain everyone with many funny stories. He would naturally light up the room and keep folks “in stitches” with his unique sense of humor.
James leaves to cherish his memory his loving wife, Willie Beatrice Holliday-Birch of Kansas City, Kansas; a loving sister, Elizabeth Parker-Spencer of Kansas City, Missouri; his four sons, James T. Birch, Jr.; Dierick E. Birch; Martin W. Birch; and Edwin D. Birch all of Kansas City, Kansas; one daughter, Pamela L. Birch of Woodbury, Minnesota; three grandchildren, Ashley Birch of Dallas, Texas; Martin Birch, Jr. of Kansas City, Kansas; and Adam Birch of Blue Springs, Missouri; three great grandchildren; and a host of nieces, nephews, other relatives and friends.