Obituary of Caroldean Ellen Birch
Surrounded by love and care, Carol, also fondly known as “Boo”, passed away peacefully on November 24, 2022. Carol was predeceased by Hank, her husband of 59 years. Cherished mom of Jill (Gordon) and Glenn. Adored grandmother of Clayton, Colin, and Vanessa. Loved step grandmother to Graeme (Zena), Nigel (Karla), Victoria and Alyson. Beloved great-grandmother of Isla, Nora, and Rami. Dear sister to Paul (Dianne) and Tudy and predeceased brother Arthur (June) and sister Pat (Bill). Precious sister-in-law of Ray Brzyski (Lee). Loved loyally by Sophie, Glenn’s Golden Retriever.
Born on October 6, 1936, Carol was raised in a big, ramshackle house on Beatty Avenue. The place was full of love and hijinks as she and her four siblings shared the house with boarders, near-do-wells, and extended family. She lived through the tough times of the depression and WWII, becoming a consummate story teller. Carol would share tales of her childhood that would have our hair standing on end.
She met her beloved Hank when she was 14, and together, they were known to family and friends as the love birds. Music and art were vital to Carol and Hank’s life, and we have fond memories of Hank finger picking his Gibson with Carol singing Gordon Lightfoot songs alongside him. Where Hank was a creative builder of all things great and small, Carol was a beacon of light, love, and laughter. Carol and Hank’s house parties were legendary. With her crazy gut busting laugh, she loved good fun and being surrounded by people who had a zest for life. She encouraged everyone around her to find and pursue their purpose by giving unfailing support and bearhugs. Her motto, “never close any doors”, fueled many of our family dreams. Carol now joins Hank, in his big block Corvette on the dark side of the moon.
It was Carol who always had an insightful comment or asked just the right question to lift the clouds on your most difficult day. She was the necessary stabilizer, the rationale force on the tiller of our family journey and the epic communicator who forged common understanding and purpose in our family. Carol was the most giving person, was always thinking of others before herself. Even up to her last days at Sunnybrook, she was asking her doctors and nurses “How can I help you?” and was scolding us to wear our gloves because it was cold outside.
Carol loved nothing more than a spirited conversation on world politics, economics, and the future of Canada. But if you really wanted to get her going, all you had to do was mention her beloved Toronto Raptors and she could tell you every win, every sorry loss, who was injured, and who she thought was dogging it. She loved Steady Freddy and Chris Boucher who she called “Mr. Skinny Legs”. She had a lifelong passion for golf and a love/hate relationship with Tiger.
Carol was a pioneer for women in the workforce and roared into the parking lot of Humber College in a yellow 1965 four-speed Corvette with the top down. It was her 30-year career at Humber that made her a champion for education and advocate for international students. In her honour, the family has established the Caroldean Birch Scholarship for International Students. In lieu of flowers, family and friends may make donations at humber.ca/TributeDonation. Choose ‘Other’ under ‘Designation’ and reference that your gift is in honour of Caroldean Birch.
The family would like to thank the extraordinary care team of doctors and nurses at the Odette Cancer Centre and the Palliative Care Unit at Sunnybrook Health Sciences Centre. A special thanks to Doctor Naushin Walji and nurses Maria, Lena and Nikki of the Palliative Care Unit.
Friends and family may call at the Humphrey Funeral Home A.W. Miles – Newbigging Chapel, 1403 Bayview Avenue (at Davisville) on Wednesday, November 30 from 7:00 – 9:00 p.m. and Thursday, December 1 from 12:00 – 1:00 p.m. followed immediately by a funeral service in the Chapel. On-line condolences may be forwarded through www.humphreymiles.com.