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Robert Birch


Robert Joseph Birch, a loving husband, father, grandfather, outdoorsman and tax enthusiast, died Monday, July 8, 2024.


He was 69 years old. He is survived by his mother Dorothy, wife Carolyn, son Tommy (Allyson), stepson Jim (Rani), stepdaughter Margaret (Cory) and grandkids Bodie and Bennett, Liam and Mae, and Alexis.  He was very proud of the children and their achievements. 


Birch was born May 13, 1955, to Lawrence and Dorothy Birch in Mason City and quickly discovered a love of hunting, fishing and being outdoors.


He became a popular duck and goose hunter at Ventura Marsh in Iowa. When he was just 13 years old, Birch worked at Stony Point Resort on Leach Lake where he cleaned fish, sold bait and gas and guided walleye fishermen.


His passion for hunting and fishing was passed on to others in his family. One of his fondest memories was watching a waterspout on Pine Point while he and Jim fished nearby. Another day, they pushed duck boats loaded with goose decoys while they walked on top of the ice. Birch watched Tommy shoot his first ducks.


Birch attended Mason City High School and graduated from NIACC where he was elected president of the student senate. He attained his AA degree from the community college and went on to the University of Iowa and earned his degree in accounting.


After college, Birch began a career in tax and worked at the Internal Revenue Service as a revenue agent in Des Moines. That’s where he met his future wife, Carolyn.

 

The couple married on Jan. 2, 1982, in the midst of a blizzard and several inches of snow, to maximize tax planning.


After passing his CPA exam, Birch changed his career path to public accounting and went on to work as the tax manager at KPMG Peat Marwick and then as the Domestic Tax Manager for Pioneer Hi-Bred.


Birch finished his career as the tax manager for 28 years for Wellmark Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Iowa and South Dakota. He also taught at Upper Iowa and Simpson.

His career in the tax world was long and distinguished. He was selected to be a member of the Internal Revenue Service Information Reporting Group and the Co-Chair of the Employee Benefits Subcommittee. He was proud of a 15-minute presentation he made to the Commissioner of the Internal Revenue Service.


Birch authored and successfully recommended several changes to the Form 1040 Instructions. Birch and a small group of other tax professionals formed the Iowa Chapter of Tax Executives, Inc.  He was elected President of the Iowa Chapter and then a Regional Vice President covering several Midwest States.  He was honored to lead several discussions in Washington, DC, on the Affordable Care Act before hundreds of tax professionals.

Birch appreciated Carolyn’s indulgence over the fall raking season which conflicted with duck season.  Together they enjoyed many fishing trips to Canada where Carolyn nearly always caught the biggest fish. 


A private graveside service for immediate family members will be held Thursday, July 11th. Memorials may be directed to the North Iowa Area Community College, Bob Birch Endowment Scholarship Fund.

 

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