Clarence Willis “Willy” Birch, age 94 of Leonidas, died on Monday, April 3, 2017 at Medi-Lodge of Portage. He was born in Leonidas on Dec. 20, 1922, the son of Karl and Ethel (Taylor) Birch and was a lifetime resident of Leonidas. He graduated from Mendon High School with the class of 1941. He served in the U.S. Army Air Corps in England and France during WWII, earning EAME Ribbons with 4 bronze battle stars. Willy operated the Redwood Bar in Union City from 1955 to 1959. He then worked at the Haas Corporation in Mendon for ten years before joining his brothers at BER Enterprises, operating Colonial Village Laundries in Mendon, Schoolcraft, Colon, and Three Rivers and later with Buster’s Pizza in Mendon. Willy was a member of the Leonidas Baptist Church, the Leonidas JCs, and the N.R.A. He enjoyed playing golf and reading Western novels.
Willy was married to Elizabeth “Betty” Avery on May 1, 1971 at the Center Park E.U.B. Church. She survives along with a daughter, Lisa (Mike) Shugars of Three Rivers; three grandchildren, Shelby Curley, Amanda Osborn, and Dusty (Amy) Shugars; four great grandchildren, Aubrey Marie Osborn, Lucas Wayne Osborn, Elizabeth Rogers, and McKenzie Shugars; a brother, Edward (Janice) Birch of Kalamazoo; and several nieces and nephews. He was preceded in death by three brothers, Clifford, Raymond, and Karl Birch; a sister, Mattie Birch; and by grandson, Jacob Curley.
Cremation has been conducted. A memorial service will take place at 11:00 a.m. Saturday, April 8, 2017 at the Leonidas Baptist Church with Pastor David Stevens officiating followed by military honors at the church. A private interment of ashes will take place in Leonidas Cemetery. It is suggested that memorial donations be directed to the Leonidas Baptist Church, 26491 M-60, Leonidas, MI 49066. Assistance was provided by the Eickhoff Funeral Home of Mendon. Condolences may be expressed to the family at www.eickhofffuneralhome.com