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Dubuque, IA 52001
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“I went all the way through grade school at Holy Ghost and also Wahlert with Keith. I was sorry to read of his passing on the Holy Ghost FB page. He...Read More »
1 of 8 | Posted by: Dianne Steil Parks - TN

“There are no words to express the gratitude we feel in our hearts for this gentle shepherd who became such a good friend. He truly brought our church...Read More »
2 of 8 | Posted by: Deacon Dave and Kathy Jones - IA

“We met Father Birch when we were neighbors to his good friend Lois Verdow. We enjoyed visiting with them both about their trips to Disney and seeing...Read More »
3 of 8 | Posted by: Amy Diers - Marion, IA - Friend

“Father Birch baptized my daughter 11 years ago at St. Michael Catholic church in Norway. I remember how he picked her up, raised her in the air for...Read More »
4 of 8 | Posted by: Kelly Schulte - Norway, IA

“Fr. Keith married my wife and I, almost 31 years ago, on July 19th, 1986 (the hottest day of that year). He was joined by Fr. Steven Kortendick. He...Read More »
5 of 8 | Posted by: Jeff Thorsteinson - Cedar Rapids, IA

“Sympathy to the family. Played football with Keith at Wahlert, many dinner conversations when we lived in Marion and Fr. Keith was at St. Joseph, and...Read More »
6 of 8 | Posted by: Tim & Mary McDonald - IA

“My thoughts and prayers are with you all during this time. Father Birch has gone to be with the Lord and will see him again someday. Father...Read More »
7 of 8 | Posted by: Barb Vajgrt - Cedar Rapids, IA

“It was a pleasure working with Father Birch during his time at Sacred Heart in Monticello. He was a kind, gentle man and served our Parish during our...Read More »
8 of 8 | Posted by: JIm Loes


Stained Glass Emblem

Rev. Keith L. Birch, age 71, of Marion, IA, and formerly of Dubuque, was called home peacefully at 4:22 a.m., on Sunday, May 28, 2017, at the Mercy-Oldorf Hospice House in Hiawatha, IA, surrounded by his loving family. To honor Fr. Keith's life, funeral services will be held at 10:00 a.m., on Wednesday, May 31, 2017, at Holy Spirit Parish, Holy Ghost Church, 2921 Central Avenue, with Archbishop Michael O. Jackels officiating. To celebrate Fr. Keith's life, family and friends may visit from 4:00 p.m. until 7:00 p.m., on Tuesday, May 30, 2017, at Holy Spirit Parish, Holy Ghost Church, where a parish scripture wake service will be held at 7:00 p.m. Burial will be in Mt. Calvary Cemetery. Behr Funeral Home, 1491 Main Street, is in charge of arrangements.

Fr. Birch was born on June 16, 1945, in Dubuque, Iowa, the son of Leonard and Leona (Adams) Birch.

Fr. Birch began his early education at Holy Ghost School, Dubuque, next he went on to Wahlert High School, Dubuque, then Loras College, Dubuque, followed by Mt. St. Bernard Seminary, Dubuque and finally completed his formal education at St Mary Seminary, Baltimore, MD. He was ordained as a priest on May 27, 1971, by Archbishop James J. Byrne. His first assignment in service to the Lord was at St. Joseph, Farley as Associate Pastor and educator. He also faithfully served on the faculty of Beckman High School for a year. Following that, he served as an associate pastor at Holy Ghost Parish, Dubuque; St. Joseph, Marion, and St. Matthew, Cedar Rapids. He became pastor of Ackley/Geneva in 1988. Fr. Keith also served as pastor in parishes including the Tama/Garwin/Belle Plaine/Chelsea Parish, the Blairstown/Newhall/Norway/Van Horne/Watkins Parish, with his final pastorate at Sacred Heart Parish, Monticello.

More recently he was resident chaplain at Mercy Medical Center, Cedar Rapids and chaplain for the Sisters of Mercy, Sacred Heart Convent, Cedar Rapids. He fully retired from his mission field on July 12, 2016, with a content heart after devoting 46 years of his earthly journey to the Archdiocese of Dubuque.

Fr. Keith was well known for his personalized sermons and especially for his very special children's sermon which he joyfully delivered every Christmas Eve while sitting on the floor among the children.

Fr. Birch is survived by

his long and loving friend,
Lois Verdow, Marion, IA;

4 nieces & nephews,
Jennifer (Josh) Vize, Dubuque, IA,
John (Angie) Brashaw, Dubuque, IA,
Ann Brashaw, Arvada, CO
and Andrew (Jenni) Brashaw, Dubuque, IA;

along with many fellow priests, friends and servants.

He was preceded in death by his parents; and a sister, Kathy (Paul) Brashaw.

In lieu of flowers, donations may be made to the charity of your choice in the name of Rev. Keith L. Birch.