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JAMES ANTHONY BIRCH (TONY)
Born: Jun 20, 1931
Date of Passing: Dec 01, 2022Offer Condolences or Memory Make a donation to CancerCare Manitoba Foundation
JAMES ANTHONY (TONY) BIRCH
June 20, 1931 - December 1, 2022
It is with heavy but full hearts that we announce the passing of Tony Birch on December 1, 2022, at the age of 91 at Victoria General Hospital Palliative Care. He is survived by his 3 children Wayne Birch (Pia), Gary Birch (Michelle), and Audrey-Anne McIvor (Geoff), his stepchildren Doug Menzies (Jan), Greg Menzies (Julia), Mike Menzies (Cesare), daughter-in-law Karen Eastwood (Phil), sister Patricia Adams (Roger) of Hove, England, sister-in-law Irene Birch and many grand and great-grandchildren. Tony was predeceased by his loving wife of 42 years Jean, his brother Ralph Birch and first wife Marjorie.
Tony and Jean were like two peas in a pod, they were made for each other. When Jean passed in August of this year Tony missed her dearly. The families are comforted by knowing they are together again. Tony and Jean loved their time spent at their cottage at Lake of the Woods until their move to Victoria, BC in 1991 when Tony retired from Canadian Airlines. They enjoyed walking through Butchart Gardens and the seawall and parks. It also gave them time to spend with their children and grandchildren living in BC. Moving back to Winnipeg in 2016 gave the Winnipeg children and grandchildren their time to enjoy together.
Born June 20, 1931, in Yorkshire, UK, Tony came to Canada in 1953 to follow his passion of flying. He started flight training during the summer of 1954 in Regina where he eventually became a flight instructor himself. In the spring of 1957 Tony was hired at Ontario Central Airlines in Kenora where he flew various "bush" planes for the next 6 years. It was a job he enjoyed immensely and in April of 1963 Tony took the opportunity to sign on with Trans Air in Winnipeg where he started flying the DC-3. Through mergers the airline eventually became part of Canadian Airlines where Tony had a great career flying many types of aircraft. He retired in 1991 as a Boeing 737 captain having accumulated over 24,000 hours.
The families would like to thank the doctors and staff of Victoria General Hospital for their care of Dad during his time there. Also, we thank the staff at Seine River Retirement Residence where Dad loved living and would not go anywhere else. Dad had said "you can just say he died making his own decisions" which he did.
A private family gathering will be held in the summer. If friends so desire, in lieu of flowers, donations may be made to CancerCare Manitoba.
Condolences may be sent to www.wojciksfuneralchapel.com
FUNERAL CHAPEL & CREMATORIUM
2157 PORTAGE AVENUE
204 897 - 4665
As published in Winnipeg Free Press on Dec 10, 2022
Condolences & Memories (11 entries)
I knew Tony from our Ball Lake and Ontario’s Central Airlines days. He was always a real gentleman and had the reputation as a superb pilot, right up there with Rex Kitely and Doug Cameron. He was one of the few pilots that Marion Lamm (wife of Barney) would fly with. Jake Wiebe - Posted by: Jake Wiebe (Peer) on: Dec 29, 2022
My condolences to the Family, I know He'll be missed. I got to know Tony, when I started working for Trans-air straight from The Netherlands in the fall of 1973. I really enjoyed working with him in my capacity as a mechanic and Tony proved to be an excellent troubleshooter. Rest easy, Tony! Jan de Vries, Mechanic Tans-air/PWA/Canadian Airlines. - Posted by: Jan de Vries (acquaintance) on: Dec 17, 2022
Captain Tony Birch was a true gentleman to spend the day flying around Manitoba with in the Dc-3 . He had a great career. I thoroughly enjoyed spending the day with him. - Posted by: David Moon (Pilot with Trans Air) on: Dec 13, 2022
I first met Tony when he flew me from Churchill to Winnipeg on Transair’s HS 748, while visiting the cockpit. I was on my way to Pacific Western Airlines as a new hire on the herc. What a wonderful gentleman. Tony, may you have a smooth ride and good tail winds, on your final flight west! Best regards to the family, Doug. - Posted by: Doug Robertson (Friend) on: Dec 13, 2022
Tony checked me out on the Grumman Goose. He was a natural pilot and I am thankful for his kind and helpful advice as a young pilot. RIP - Posted by: Kent Davis (Friend) on: Dec 13, 2022
Tony was a wonderful gentleman and a great pilot. I was his flight engineer on the PBY Canso in Lynn Lake and we worked very well as a team.Tony always took the time to chat with the maintenance staff before and after each flight which I am sure made us all proud to be treated with such respect. Rest In Peace. - Posted by: Leo Fournier (Fellow worker and friend ) on: Dec 12, 2022
I had the privilege to work with Tony when I was a Transair first officer. Tony was always a true gentleman and a pleasure to work with. Tony had a lot of experience and I learned a lot while flying with him. - Posted by: Bill Carter (Transair Co-worker) on: Dec 11, 2022
I want to extend my sincere condolences to the family on this very sad news....Tony was one of the nicest humans we had working with us and a very patient pilot....we first met in Lynn Lake in the mid '60 when he was flying the Canso...he was a true gentleman and caring human and always in good spirit...definitely one of the Family....very sad to hear this...regards, Wolf - Posted by: Wolfgang Walter (fellow Emplyee- Transair) on: Dec 10, 2022
My dad Chip Chapman was a good friend of Tony’s. Both born in '31. Dad passed too early in '85. They had great passion for the flight! Dad flew with Arctic Wings, Transair and Canadian Air. I recall many times they flew in to remote places to dig out a plane that slipped off the runway and would Mcgyver ways to get it going again. What a life What passion! RIP Mr. Birch! Fly high above the sky, Say hello to Chip! - Posted by: Tannis Chapman- Taylor (Dads friend) on: Dec 10, 2022
Condolences to the family. Especially to you Wayne old buddy. - Posted by: Reg Paupanekis (Acquaintance of Tony and friends with Wayne.) on: Dec 10, 2022
I live in the Seine River home and on the same floor as Tony. Tony largely kept to himself but we would often meet on the way somewhere and have a brief but always congenial talk. Sometimes I’d suggest he come to some event inside the home but he would say “You know Bob I’m the kind of person who enjoys being on my own and I’ll be just fine”. We always waved or even shouted to each other whenever we saw each other. I know his eyesight was getting much worse. He was a good man whom I respected. - Posted by: Bob Galston (Friend) on: Dec 10, 2022
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