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John Birkenhead

March 12, 1947 ~ November 28, 2022 (age 75) 75 Years Old
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Obituary

John Birkenhead, 75, of Wilkes-Barre, passed away into the hands of the Lord on Monday, November 28, 2022 at home with his wife, Christine, by his side. He fought a courageous battle with malignant melanoma.

John was born March 12, 1947 to the late Ronald and Laura (Howell) Birkenhead. He was a graduate of E. L. Meyers High School Class of 1965. He continued his education at King’s College graduating in 1971. John taught junior high social studies in the Wilkes-Barre area schools starting at Plains Junior High to Solomon and finishing at his Alma Mater, Meyers High School, retiring in 2005.

John was a devout Christian. He belonged to the former Westminster Presbyterian Church, now Wyoming Valley Presbyterian Church. He sang in the choir, was a deacon and elder, and clerk of session for many years.

With the late Roger Beatty, John spent 20 years coaching junior high baseball. He also coached Keystone Baseball teams with the late Vince Yurko. When his children played soccer, he became a soccer coach for the South Wilkes-Barre Skyhawks. With his van, he was able to ensure his team always had enough players to play the games. He took soccer one more step by becoming an EPYSA youth soccer referee and a PIAA soccer official. John tried to attend as many of his son and daughter’s games no matter what sport they were playing. That included football, basketball, wrestling, baseball, softball, and soccer, both locally and out of town. With Christine, they travelled to see their son play football for Canisius College.

John not only enjoyed sports, but he also became involved with  Ballet Northeast where both his children danced. He served as treasurer on the Board of Ballet Northeast for many years. He appeared in many performances of the Nutcracker.

One of his other passions was traveling. With Christine, they travelled extensively in the United States and Canada. Even a flood called Agnes did not stop them. In 1972, while waiting for a HUD trailer, they went to Disney World which was the year it opened. With their children they still travelled extensively over many of the same routes, even to Disney World and a family trip to Cancun. Retirement changed their mode of traveling to bus trips. The exception was seeing his grandsons play travel baseball on weekends in the spring and summer.

John took pride in his garden. He watched his forsythia take root in the front of the house and roses, iris, and veggies in the yard.

In addition to his parents, he was preceded in death by his son, Richard; his niece, Angela Marie Daniels; his father-in-law, James Fisher and mother-in-law, Helen Fisher.

John is survived by his wife of 53 years, the former Christine Fisher; daughter, Victoria Smith (Paul); grandsons, twins Tyler and Zachary Smith and Bradley Smith of West Wyoming; sister, Judy Birkenhead of College Park, MD; sisters-in-law, Michaelle Stanek of Kalispell, MT, Kathleen Daniels (Michael) of Boise, ID and Marcella Miller (Robert) of Tamaqua; nieces, Debra Huestis (Jason) and Patricia Albert (Adam) of Montana, Abbey Miller (Dane) of Idaho and Kate White (Eric) of Pennsylvania and nephew, Michael Daniels of Idaho. He is also survived by several great nieces and great nephews and his cousins.

The family would like to thank Hospice of the Sacred Heart for the excellent care and compassion they provided John. The nurses were there for him no matter what time of day. Also, they would like to thank Visiting Angels who helped give Christine some respite. With Hospice and Visiting Angels, John was able to remain at his home with Christine.  In lieu of flowers, contributions in his name to St. Jude Children’s Hospital, 501 St. Jude Place, Memphis, TN 38105 or Wyoming Valley Presbyterian Church, 2 Lockhart St., Wilkes-Barre, PA 18702.

The funeral service will be Tuesday at 7:00 PM at Kniffen O’Malley Leffler Funeral & Cremation Services, 465 S. Main St. Wilkes-Barre. Family and friends may visit from 5:00 – 7:00 PM. Officiating will be Rev Demetros. Condolences may be sent to kniffenfuneralhome.com

 

 

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Services

Visitation
Tuesday
December 6, 2022

5:00 PM to 7:00 PM
Kniffen O Malley Leffler Funeral and Cremation Services, Inc (Main Street Avoca)

Funeral Service
Tuesday
December 6, 2022

7:00 PM
Kniffen O'Malley Leffler Funeral Home

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John Birkenhead

March 12, 1947-November 28, 2022




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In Loving Memory Of

John Birkenhead

March 12, 1947-November 28, 2022




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