RANTOUL – Laura Kathryn Birch, 94, formerly from Rantoul, died peacefully with her family on Thursday, December 9th, 2021.
Laura (Kay) was born on October 13, 1927 in rural Dewey to Charles Hummel and Kathryn (Nickel) Hummel.
She graduated from Fisher High School and received her radiology training from Purdue University in West Lafayette, Ind. After graduation, she worked in Champagne, first for Dr. Tom Christie, then for Dr. Irving Weismann, and retired after a 42-year career.
Kay leaves behind her son Joe (Pam) from rural Dewey; her daughter Kit (Howard) Walker of Champaign; seven grandchildren, Je’Ne (Ben) Jordahl, Kaleah (Kenley) Richardson, Tyler Walker, Kate (Clayton) Brown, Megan Walker, Micki Walker, and Joey Walker; seven great-grandchildren; and 24 nieces and nephews and their spouses whom she all adored.
Her previous death husband of 44 years, John Joseph Birch; two brothers, Clifford Hummel and Lyle Hummel; and a sister, Marjorie Adams.
She was of the Catholic faith and attended mass regularly until her health deteriorated. A member of the St. Malachy, Rantoul parish for over 80 years, she was a member of the Alter & Rosary Society and the Catholic Daughters of America.
Among her many talents, Kay loved gardening and excelled at growing tomatoes. Her athletic connections were Notre Dame football and Illinois basketball. She loved playing games in South Bend, Indiana on fall afternoons. A trip was only over with a visit to the Irish bookshop and an allusion to the landing of Jesus.
She was loved by many and is missed by all who have had the privilege of knowing her.
A memorial service will be held on Tuesday at 10 a.m. in the Catholic Church of St. Malachy in Rantoul. Father Joel Phelps will officiate. Immediately after the service, her ashes are buried next to her husband in the cemetery of the Holy Sepulcher.
Monuments can be made to the Henry J. Smith Trust Fund.