Carole S. Birch
1941 - 2021
Langeland Family Funeral Homes
622 South Burdick Street
Kalamazoo, MI
Birch, Carole S. 5/4/1941 - 10/18/2021 Kalamazoo Carole Shepherd Birch, of Kalamazoo, passed away surrounded by her family, on October 18, 2021. She was born on May 4, 1941, in Kalamazoo, Michigan, the daughter of Suzanne and Joel Shepherd. Carole graduated from State High in Kalamazoo, received her Bachelor's in English from Indiana University, and a Master's in Social Work from Western Michigan. Those of us who have had the good fortune to know Carole, will remember her with universal fondness, and perhaps a sideways smile. There is a simple reason for that: Carole listened deeply to what you were saying and made you feel respected and valued as a human being. If you needed comfort, she made you comfortable. And if you needed to be challenged, she challenged you. She made you feel better about yourself and perhaps more importantly, she made you a better person. And she did so with a sense of humor. This deep caring for people, especially those in need, was reflected in Carole's daily life and in her choice of profession. After raising her four children, she became a social worker, working in Kalamazoo, Allegan County, and Battle Creek. She worked to protect children and help parents improve their parenting skills. She was a tireless advocate for children in desperate need of support, understanding, and compassion. This, along with her love of nature, was reflected in her many volunteer efforts such as the Salvation Army, First Presbyterian Church of Kalamazoo, Southwest Land Conservancy, Kalamazoo Nature Center, and Parchment School Foundation to name a few. Carole, a lifelong resident of the Kalamazoo area, appreciated and loved Gull Lake and "The Island," where she spent many happy and idyllic days. It was a common sight to see Carole with a sunhat on her head, binoculars around her neck, a net in hand, and at least one child in tow, sharing her knowledge and enthusiasm for nature. Many of us were the lucky recipients of a monarch caterpillar on a milkweed stalk, which Carole was known to gift to people in the hopes that watching these creatures transform into beautiful butterflies would bring them as much awe and wonder as it did for her, chrysalis after chrysalis, year after year. While Carole was deeply engaged with her community, her family was the most important thing in her life, and her true source of joy. We were all thrilled when she would show up with a laundry basket of clothes for a long weekend of shared activity. She was always respectful and supportive of her children and grandchildren, never dominating a conversation, and always fully engaged. While it is hard to imagine life without her, we know she will be walking with us on our journeys, and that her adventurous spirit, sense of wonder, and appreciation of our world and one another will live on with us. Daughter of Joel and Suzanne, mother of Bill, Susie, Nancy, and Sarah, grandmother to seventeen and four greats: Carole, you have loved and been loved, and will be loved. We will think of you as we live out our life on earth, while you take your first steps and "kick up your heels" on your new spiritual adventure. Godspeed. Carole is survived by children Bill (Tammy) Birch, Susie (Frank) Dame, Nancy (Derek) Voskuil, Sarah (Kirk) Krahn; grandchildren Bill (Alissa), Brett (Bri) and Spencer Birch; Frankie (Kelsey), Morgan (Jacob), Brittany (Deion), Grace, Liberty, Faith, Hope and Charity Dame; Anna, Peter and Clara Voskuil; Madison, Cameron, and Caleb Krahn; great-grandchildren Scarlett, Winnie, Haven, and Cayden; beloved brother Earl (Denny) Shepherd and sister Nancy (Ed) Fitzgerald; numerous nieces and nephews and countless friends. She is preceded in death by her parents and brothers, Joel and Stephen Shepherd. Carole's family will greet friends at Langeland Family Funeral Homes Burial & Cremation Services, 622 S Burdick St Kalamazoo, MI 49007 from 4pm-7pm on Friday, November 12, 2021. A Celebration of Carole's Life will be held Saturday, November 13, 2021 at 11:00 am at First Presbyterian Church, 321 W South St in Kalamazoo with a reception to follow. Those desiring may make memorial contributions in Carole's name to Parchment Schools Foundation c/o Carole Birch Compassion Scholarship, Kalamazoo Nature Center c/o Carole Birch Camp Scholarship or to Southwest Michigan Land Conservancy. Please visit her personalized webpage at

Published by Kalamazoo Gazette from Oct. 22 to Oct. 24, 2021.
4:00p.m. - 7:00p.m.
Langeland Family Funeral Homes
622 South Burdick Street, Kalamazoo, MI
Celebration of Life
First Presbyterian Church
321 W South St, Kalamazoo, MI
Funeral services provided by:
Langeland Family Funeral Homes
Sponsored by The Family.
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4 Entries
I had the great pleasure of working and starting the Parents of Teachers program in Allegan county. Carole was a genuine soul and cared deeply about the outcome of each of her clients. I loved her laugh!!!
Peg Dorgan
October 25, 2021
I was Nancy and Sarah´s preschool teacher many years ago at Parchment Methodist. As it was a coop I had the opportunity to get to know Carole. I remember her as a nurturing mom who enjoyed volunteering in the classroom. I am not surprised to read of her very fulfilling life . Please accept my condolences.
Cathleen Hosner
October 24, 2021
I am saddened to read of Carole's passing. I worked with Carole in Battle Creek and learned so much from her. As a young, new social worker her support, guidance, and teaching are times I cherish to this day, 20 plus years later. Carole such a kind, caring woman who always took time with others to listen, support, and to let you know you mattered. Carole you made a difference!! RIP. You'll be missed.
October 22, 2021
To the Birch Family, Please accept our sincere condolences upon Carol's passing. She was a wonderful person and a pleasure to have known all these years. May she now rest in Peace in the Kingdom of Heaven.
John & Vicki Cross
October 22, 2021
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