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Relia Beth Birch returned to her eternal home peacefully on Monday August 29, 2022. The last week of her life was punctuated by lovely expressions of kindness, many smiles, hugs, cuddles with loved ones and a few stuffed animals given to her by them, and a gradual thinning of the veil as she passed from this earthly life.
Relia began her journey February 23,1935 in Salt Lake City, Utah. Born to Oral James Lyon and Ruth Kenner, she was a little, blue-eyed, blonde sweetheart with a love of music, dolls, coloring, and dancing. She was later joined by her intelligent brother Dell and her lovely sister Judy.
Relia had a special daddy-daughter relationship, which was altered when he died when Relia was only 10. She would always have a special feeling for him. In her otherwise unresponsive state in her final day, she opened her eyes and clearly said, “James.”
Relia married Richard Bradley Birch on June 15, 1964. Their early years were spent in California, where their two children, Erica and Paul, were born. They later moved to Utah to be close to their families, with both of their mothers being elderly. Though their marriage had turbulence and eventually ended in divorce, there were many happy times, connected memories, and a lifetime shared.
Relia had a rich professional life, including training as a Physical Therapist Assistant and later a 5th and 6th grade elementary school teacher. In both these professions, she excelled and was known as the person you wanted caring for you or teaching your child. Her enthusiasm, immediate reach out to others, and excitement for learning and growth pervaded her accomplishments.
On July 15, 1996, a long-anticipated event occurred: Relia became a grandmother! No role in life excited her as much. Erica’s daughter, Morgan Nicole Miller, was always a joy to Relia. Morgan says of her, “My Grandma was my biggest supporter in everything I did in life and was the strongest and most kind and loving woman I have ever met.” She attended nearly every single soccer game Morgan ever played and was a cheerleader for her professional aspirations. The two would remain very close throughout her life.
Paul and his wife Janet would usher in the second batch of grandchildren: Jonathan Paul, Peter James, Elisabeth, Gabrielle, and Jeremiah Elias Birch were all loved by her dearly, even if she couldn’t always express it. Living away from Utah made it challenging to stay close. But over the years, she was always remained keenly interested in all of their doings. She would listen intently to the latest reports. She loved hearing about their talents and reveled gleefully at the stories Paul would relate to her over the years.
As her life turned towards retirement and older age, she spent most of her final years at Fairfield Village of Layton, where she made friends, participated enthusiastically in activities, and made the staff so comfortable she became a bit of a grandmother to them. The loving care of the staff at FVs investment in her personal wellbeing was matched only by the love she had for them in return.
Relia had a pleasant and deferential demeanor, and often wore an arresting smile. She tried to see the good in things and was optimistic to a fault and would not give up hope. She was kind, compassionate, and exuberant towards children and animals. She was easy to please, accepting, and sweet natured (unless someone brought her a diet Pepsi instead of diet Coke!).
She enjoyed teaching and telling about the world, especially teaching science to her school children.
She was often proactive about reaching out to others. Her care center staff commented that she was first to welcome new residents, jumped into life and involvement with activities, and was the person that they’d always bring new people to help them feel comfortable.
She could not see an animal without a feeling of fondness and desire to interact, and a smile.
She relied on God – not overtly but consistently, like a child. She is a dedicated lifelong member of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. She was devoted to hearing God’s word through conferences, scriptures, and church meetings, and was a very regular student at Institute.
As we reflect on the constellation of light left behind by this lovely daughter of God, may we all be brightened by her love, her smile, her kindness, exuberance, and optimism, and may we all strive to burn a little brighter, and share that light with others.
We invite you to a celebration of Relia’s life and its significance for all of us:
Lindquist Layton Mortuary
Viewing: 930a to 1030a
Memorial Services: 1100a to 1230p
Kaysville City Cemetery
Graveside Service: 100p
Immediate family and anyone who wishes to join is invited to meet and enjoy time together at:
Layton Golden Corral Buffet and Grill
Meet and Eat 300p
We wish to express our love and special thanks to Relia’s surviving family members and a few others also dear to her:
Daughter Erica Birch
Granddaughter Morgan Nicole Miller
Son Paul and wife Janet Birch
Grandson Jonathan Paul Birch
Grandson Peter James Birch
Granddaughter Elisabeth Birch
Granddaughter Gabrielle Birch
Grandson Jeremiah Elias Birch
Sister Judy and husband Noel Cantrell
Nephew Greg and wife Connie Cantrell and family
Niece Camille and husband Russel Weaver and family
Nephew Kendrick and wife Heather Cantrell and family
Brother Vern Dell Lyon
Friends Sheryl and Steven Bailey
The loving and expert staff at Fairfield Village of Layton and Inspiration Hospice and Home Health
The Fairfield Village branch of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints
Saturday, September 3, 2022
9:30 - 10:30am (Mountain time)
Saturday, September 3, 2022
11:00am - 12:00pm (Mountain time)
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