William "Bill" Burch, Sr.
William "Bill" Koeppen Burch, Sr., 83, passed away February 17, 2013 at home at Scottish Rite Park. He was born August 19, 1929 in Arion, Iowa to Louis and Bertha Burch. He volunteered to serve in the U.S. Navy, and served as an Electrical Technician on a destroyer in the Pacific Fleet during the Korean Conflict. Bill graduated in 1956 with a B.S. degree in geology from the University of Iowa. He worked as a representative and research assistant for Ortho Pharmaceutical Company.
Bill married Joyce Rittenhouse on June 22, 1954. He was active in the Izaak Walton League and received an honorary commendation from Governor Branstad for his work with youth, teaching gun safety. He is a life member of the Beaverdale VFW, the Missouri Valley American Legion, the Masonic Consistory, the Iowa Ornithologist's Union, and St. John's Lutheran Church.
Bill enjoyed traveling the U.S. and Mexico, bird watching and fishing wherever he was. He loved children, and was called "Grandpa" by many neighborhood children. He loved working with wood: making furniture, carving figures, plaques and walking sticks. The walking sticks he gave to others will be traveling all over the U.S. for years to come.
He is survived by his wife of 58 years, Joyce; his children: William, Jr. (Martha), Ruth (Chris) Liles, and Kathleen Myers; grandson, Derek Lee (Tracy) Myers; great-grandchildren: Connor O'Donnell-Myers, Taryn and Benjamin Myers; brothers: Louis "Bud" and Bennett; sisters: Julia Gingerich, Joyce Dow and Carol Flynn. He was preceded in death by his parents; sisters: Paula Swift and Lois Baker; and brother, James "Bob" Burch.
A private service was held February 19 at the Merle Hay Funeral Home. A Celebration of Bill's Life and interment of his cremated remains will be held at Bigler's Grove Cemetery, Woodbine, Iowa on June 22, 2013. Memorials in Bill's name may be sent to the Iowa Ornithologist's Union's Iowa Young Birders Program, 1201 High Avenue West, Oskaloosa, Iowa 52577 or St. John's Lutheran Church, 600 6th Avenue, Des Moines, Iowa 50309.
Published in Des Moines Register from Feb. 20 to Feb. 24, 2013