We are deeply sorry for your loss - the staff at Longwood Funeral Home & Cremation of Matthew Genereux, Inc.
Daniel Vandersloot Birch, Sr. of New London, PA passed away peacefully on July 12, 2022, surrounded by his family. He was 74.
Dan was a New Year’s baby, born January 1, 1948, in Wilmington, DE. He spent his early years in Claymont, DE, relocated with his young family to Des Plains, IL and Wallingford, CT, and ultimately settled in New London, PA in 1978. Dan graduated from Claymont High School in 1966, Spring Garden College’s Automotive Training Center in Philadelphia, PA, and Middlesex Community College in Middletown, CT. He served honorably in the United States Navy as an Interior Communications Electrician and shared stories of his service with pride and gratitude.
Dan was a loving husband, a devoted father and grandfather, and a role model, mentor, and friend to all. He was well-known and respected for his honesty, integrity, and optimistic outlook on life. Dan’s easy, gentle nature and warm presence drew people to him. Dan maintained a professional career of consulting, sales, and service management positions, including several decades as the finance manager at Scott Honda and Mercedes Benz in West Chester, PA. Over the years, local families may remember meeting Dan at Birch’s Checkered Flag Sandwich Shop or while he was coaching an Avon Grove Little League game, directing traffic at the Avon Grove Charter School, or enjoying fellowship at the Christian Life Center. In 2004, Dan began a second career as a licensed Realtor and truly enjoyed serving a new community of families and clients throughout his “retirement.” Dan enjoyed playing the guitar, composing humorous songs and thoughtful poetry about his family and everyday life, and writing stories about the close bond he had with his grandchildren. Dan became a published children’s book author in 2016.
Dan loved spending time with family and friends in his New London home of over 45 years. Following his recovery from serious health issues in 2004, Dan and his wife Caral began hosting an annual “Life Is Good” celebration, opening their home and their hearts nearly each year since for a multi-generational gathering of love and friendship. While “Life is Good” certainly celebrates Dan and the extra years he was blessed with, it’s a celebration of devoted family connection and camaraderie, lifelong relationships tended with care, and genuine friendships both new and old.
Throughout his life, Dan was an avid baseball fan, falling in love with the game as a child. He played baseball through his youth, was part of his Navy ship’s softball team, and participated in competitive softball for most of his adult life. For over 25 years, Dan was very involved with the local Avon Grove Little League, coaching his children and grandchildren. For Dan, the sound of summer was the Phillies game on the television or on the radio in the backyard. While baseball was his first love, he enjoyed participating in many other sports. In the 80s and 90s, Dan drove mini-sprint racecars with his brother, son, and nephew, becoming a two-time champion at Airport Speedway in New Castle, DE. During his retirement, he became passionate about piloting gliders/sailplanes with his group of friends at the New Garden Flying Field in Toughkenamon, PA. One of his fondest flying memories came when he was silently circling thousands of feet above the ground and watched as a bald eagle circled below.
In his passing, Dan has been reunited with his parents, Art and Anne Vandersloot Birch, and his daughter, Lauren Birch. He is survived by his wife of 53 years, Caral Bolin Birch, his brother, Art Birch, Jr., his children, Dan and Jodi Birch, Carrie and Joe Herman, and Chris Birch, and many additional family members who adored him. Affectionately known as PopPop, Dan leaves a legacy of love for his ten grandchildren, Mikey, Sophie, Joey, Max, Cole, Jackson, David, Ryan, Lucas, and Katie.
Visitation with the family will be from 10:00AM to 12:00PM with a funeral service at 12:00PM on Friday, July 22, 2022 at CHRISTIAN LIFE CENTER, 125 Saginaw Rd, Lincoln University, PA. Interment will be private in New London Presbyterian Cemetery. All are welcome to a time a fellowship and luncheon at the Christian Life Center following the private burial.
In lieu of flowers, the family suggests donations to the Christian Life Center to support youth programs, or The Marfan Foundation in support of individuals with genetic aortic and vascular conditions.