June 01, 1918 - April 18, 2010
Homer J. Birch passed away on Sunday, April 18, 2010.
Homer was born June 1, 1918, in Mahoning County to Guy and Kate (Mound) Birch.
Homer’s first employment in 1937 was in the blast furnace laboratory of Struthers Furnace Co. while attending Youngstown College, from which he received a BS in Chemistry and Mathematics in June 1941.
After graduation, he moved to Charleston, W.Va., where he was employed by E.I. DuPont de Nemours. After starting as a shift chemist, he was promoted to supervisor of a group of about fifteen chemists and technicians during the last years of World War II.;
In September of 1948, Homer enrolled in the Graduate School of the University of Illinois in Urbana, Ill. He was employed as a Teaching Assistant and a Research Chemist doing instrumental work for other students. He also assisted in the early development of carbonless copying paper for National Cash Register. Homer received a MS in Analytical Chemistry in 1949 and PhD in Analytical Chemistry with a Minor in Electrical Engineering in June 1952. He returned to the Belle Works of DuPont, where he performed advanced analyses in polymer development and catalyst research.
Homer has been a resident of Marshall Township since 1957. He came to Pennsylvania in 1956 to work at Callery Chemical Company in Evans City as a chemical laboratory supervisor in the development of high energy fuels for the U.S. Department of the Navy.
In 1959, Homer went to the Applied Research Laboratory at U.S. Steel as an Associate Research Consultant, where he performed analytical work in the development of plated steels, cements, and various polymers. Homer was an appointed member of the Marshall Township Zoning Hearing Board and Chairman of the Board between 1973 and 1988.
He was a member of Sigma Xi, a Professional Science Society, the Microscope Society of America, the Society for Applied Spectroscopy, the Spectroscopy Society of Pittsburgh (SSP), Society for Analytical Chemists of Pittsburgh (SACP), and the Organizing Committee of the Pittsburgh Conference on Analytical Chemistry and Applied Spectroscopy (PITTCON) where he also served as a member of the Board of Directors 1978-80.
Homer is survived by his wife of 66 years, Edith Mielow, whom he married on April 15, 1944 in Longmeadow, Mass. in the Longmeadow Congregational Church. He is also survived by his children, Norman James Birch (Aileen) and Emily Kristine Birch (Barbara Jones); his brother, Paul Birch of Struthers; and numerous cousins, nieces, and nephews.
He was preceded in death by his brother, Clifford and his sister, Mary Louise.
Friends will be received on Friday from 4 to 8 p.m. at the T.B. Devlin Funeral Home, 806 Perry Highway, Pittsburgh, PA 15229.
In lieu of flowers, contributions may be made to the Birch Scholarship Fund, c/o University of Illinois, 1101 S. Goodwin Ave., Urbana, IL 61801 or the Salvation Army of Western PA.