Harold “Birch” Van Horne was born to parents Ralph and Edna Van Horne on March 21st 1914 in Vancouver. Birch spent his formative years growing up there. He went to the University of British Columbia and earned his Bachelor of Agriculture Science then worked in the Agricultural Science field. This gave him a great love for the land and the creatures living on it.
Birch was an active and committed environmentalist. He belonged to WWF C. PAWS, Fraser River Conservation. As an active bird watcher and a member of the Chilliwack Field Naturalists, he took part in the annual bird count in December.
Birch went back to school to obtain his Teaching Degree. He and his new wife Mary, moved to Chilliwack in 1950 where he taught school from 1950 to 1976, first at Chilliwack Junior High, and then, until his retirement in 1976, at Chilliwack Senior High.
After retirement, Birch took on a leadership role and mentored and tutored many children who had difficulty learning. He helped them cope, and complete their high school education.
A talented percussionist, Birch played in the University of British Columbia Band, the Chilliwack Pipe and Drum Band, the Chilliwack Community Band, the Fraser Valley Symphony, and the Chilliwack Symphony. He was active in the Chilliwack Community Band until just two years ago.
Many other Chilliwack organizations had the benefit of his expertise: the Chilliwack Historical Society, Probus Club, Chilliwack Horticultural Society, the Chilliwack Arts Council, Chilliwack Retired Teachers’ Association, and United Empire Loyalists’ Association of Canada – Chilliwack Branch. Birch was a longtime, faithful member of St. Thomas Anglican Church.
Anyone who knew Birch enjoyed his quiet, yet subtle wit. His love for his wife, Mary and son Philip, was always very evident. His contributions to the Arts and to the Community of Chilliwack will be remembered by his many friends.
Birch was predeceased by his wife of 59 years, Mary. He passed away peacefully at the Chilliwack General Hospital on Friday, April 23rd, 2010.
A Memorial Service to Celebrate Bircham’s Life will be held Saturday, May 8th 2010 at 2:00 p.m. from the St. Thomas Anglican Church, 46048 Gore Avenue, Chilliwack. In lieu of flowers, donations may be made to one of the aforementioned organizations, or a charity of your choice.
Online condolences can be left at www.hendersonsfunerals.com