Robert John Birchem
Robert John Birchem

November 10, 1939 - June 16, 2019
Born in White Rock, South Dakota
Resided in Mesa, Arizona
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Robert John Birchem was born November 10, 1939 in White Rock South Dakota to the parents of Martin and Adeline Birchem. Bob was 6th of 7 children, with Irene being the only girl. They were financially poor, but extremely rich in faith and love. Adeline could cook on two stoves, all eight burners and never burn the food. Their meals were plentiful, but do not show up late or you got what was left.

I met Bob in April of 1962 at a Catholic Youth Organization meeting. He was so handsome, but then I saw that he had a few other women around him so I said oh well, maybe there will be someone else. Later, that week he asked which “Wentz” I was in the phone book and I told him my father’s name was Frank. He called and our first date was 5 a.m. It was the Youth group picnic and we had so much fun. Later that month he would travel to Lynwood, CA to look for a job. He was hired by GTE Phone Company, in Downey, CA. He invited me to visit him and the family he was living with in January of 1963. I was fearful of big, bad LA, but I fell in love with the beaches. Then Bob proposed to me and we would be married on July 27, 1963 in St. Mary’s Catholic Church in Boise Idaho and after the reception, we would leave and make our first home in Downey, CA.

Our first daughter, Joanne, was born on March 11, 1965. Janet would join our family on April 30, 1967 and Robin would complete our family being born December 10, 1968.
Bob worked hard, was a good provider, a loving husband and an adoring father. Sunday was our day to attend Mass, give thanks for all that God had provided and then go out to breakfast. It was a day for family fun, with whatever we decided to do that day.

He began a career with the phone company and worked for 32 years, retiring in 1992 at the age of 53. I was a bit worried he would be under my feet all the time, but he took up golfing and he was gone almost every day.

Joanne would marry Dan Deleon in June of 1988. They would bless us with three granddaughters, Jackie, Shelly, and Danielle.

Robin would marry Rick Glass in August 1992. They would bless us with two granddaughters Skye and Rayn.

Janet would marry Dave Goldgorin and they would bless us with a grandson, Gavin and a granddaughter Brynn.

Bob was my night in shining armor, and we adored each other. He would see me through many illnesses and surgeries and took loving care of me and each would deepen our love for each other. We were married just a month short of 56 years and I thank God for each and every day, enriching our devotion to each other.

When Bob was diagnosed with Alzheimer’s, in 2012 and it would require a great deal of faith and trust in God. It is so hard to see the love of your life disappear into mind that cannot communicate. We learned to watch his eyes and enjoy that special glitter when we knew he understood. It was beautiful to see him smile and receive his warm and loving hug.

His passing was a blessing and he is at peace with God.
You were the one who taught me to love, laugh and, be happy, you were the greatest and I thank God for putting you in my life and allowing us a long life together

I Love you and will miss you deeply, and in time my heart will mend. Be at peace my love.

Dad the first man I ever loved and who ever loved me! I remember when you first got to Arizona to live, I was so happy to have you here so I could see you all the time. You were so different! Every time I left you, I would cry. Then we found our new normal. We would sit and listen to Kenny Rogers and do crossword puzzles. I remember being amazed when you would come up with the answer to a difficult question. I was like DAMN you’re good! We eventually had to come up with another new normal, we still listened to music but you didn’t want to talk anymore. I cried!!! But then I found that we could have a permanent lunch date together and I could feed you your lunch. After lunch we would go in and watch an old movie. I was so excited to be able to watch the Dodgers with you on opening day, your eyes were glued to the tv, it was so great and my heart was full.

You are the best man I have ever known and you taught me so much! You never thought of us girls as just girls. You had us in sports, we went camping and fishing, you made us mow the lawn. I think that by doing this you made us girl’s stronger women! Thank you! I remember you being so funny!!! In fact, because you were such a jokester, I didn’t believe you when you cut the tip off your finger in the lawn mower. You yelled into me while I was playing with a friend, “Robin come here I cut my finger off!” I was like “ok dad, I’m playing.” But you were persistent so I finally came to the kitchen and looked at you standing in the back door and seeing all the blood. I ran to the paper towels and stretched them across the kitchen. We went on a vacation after that and I remember you swimming with your finger straight up in the air.

Dad because of your love and devotion I found a man in Rick that loves me like no other! Because of you I am a mother to children that will mow a lawn. Skye, Skeeter and Rayn, Murphy will always treasure the memories they had with you. We will remember your laugh, your kindness and generosity and your warm hugs! My heart is broken right now without you but you are at peace now and I to will find peace one day! I LOVE YOU DADDY!!!
Your loving daughter Robin




Queen of Heaven Catholic Funeral Home
1562 E. Baseline Rd.
Mesa, AZ Maricopa 85204
Monday, June 24, 2019
5:00 PM - 8:00 PM
Funeral Mass
St Mary Magdalene Catholic Church
2654 E Williams Field Rd
Gilbert, AZ 85295
Tuesday, June 25, 2019
11:00 AM
Queen of Heaven Catholic Cemetery
1562 E Baseline Rd
Mesa, AZ 85204
Tuesday, July 2, 2019
10:00 AM