Miriam Birchard

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Born: August 23, 1923

Died: November 21, 2012

Services: St. Alban's Episcopal Church Saturday, December 8,2012 3:00PM

Visitation: Bedell-Pizzo Funeral Home Saturday, December 8,2012 10:00AM - 2:00PM

Miriam Louise Birchard, 89, a longtime Tottenville resident and a retired special education teacher, died Nov. 21 at home.

Born Miriam Zartman in Shamokin, Pa., she left home to attend Penn State University in State College, Pa., where she earned a bachelor's degree in psychology. She moved to Manhattan following her graduation in 1945, where she lived for seven years until she relocated to Tottenville in 1952.

While a student at Penn State, she was active in the campus theater troupe that performed for members of the Armed Services during World War II. It was there she met her future husband, Franklin Pepper Birchard, who was also a Penn State student and member of the theater troupe. They were married in 1948.

From 1945 to 1952, Mrs. Birchard worked as a passenger representative with the Pennsylvania Rail Road, traveling the line's passenger trains between New York, Washington D.C., and Pittsburgh. She left the railroad to start a family.

When her children were in school, Mrs. Birchard went back to school herself, earning a master's degree in special education from the former Richmond College in St. George, which became a part of the College of Staten Island.

She worked for 18 years, from 1968 to 1986, as a special education teacher and educational director of the former Staten Island Aid for Retarded Children, now known as Community Resources.

In her leisure time Mrs. Birchard nurtured her love of singing, beginning by taking voice lessons at age 79 and continuing well into her eighties. She used her voice and applied her singing talents for many years as a choir member of St. Alban's Episcopal Church in Eltingville, where she helped found the popular Music at St. Alban's series. She also taught Sunday School at St. Alban's, and she and her husband helped produce shows there for several years.

While her children were young she was a troop leader for Camp Fire Girls.

Mrs. Birchard was also a member of the Staten Island Historical Society, and was a long-time volunteer with Project Hospitality. She helped develop a day-care program at Project Hospitality's Hospitality House family shelter in St. George.

She was also a volunteer with the former St. Vincent's Medical Center in West Brighton, where she helped look after children with AIDS.

My mother was a remarkable, unassuming person. She accepted people for who they were, and always made them feel comfortable and loved, said her daughter, Amy Kollar.

Her husband, Franklin, died in 2011. They had been married 62 years.

In addition to her daughter, Amy Kollar, Mrs. Birchard is survived by a son, David; a sister, Nancy Struck, and four grandchildren.

The funeral will be Saturday from the Bedell-Pizzo Funeral Home, Tottenville, with a 3 p.m. service in St. Alban's Episcopal Church. Cremation was private.

Memorials: In Lieu of flowers, contributions to Music at St. Alban's or Project Hospitality would be appreciated.

Location: Bedell-Pizzo Funeral Home (Map)

Church: St.Alban's Episcopal Church (Map)

Posted at: 12/8/2012 7:26:58 AM By:


Email Address: [email protected]

Your atcrile was excellent and erudite.

Posted at: 12/4/2012 9:23:54 PM By:

Bette Bommer

Email Address: [email protected]

God Bless you Mim. You were,and always will be the best.Rest in Peace. Say hi to Belle for me!