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Col. Harold Boyd Birch Obituary


Memories & Candles

“I typed all the papers "For The Commander" during his time as Battalion Commander. ”
1 of 10 | Posted by: Sp 5 Thomas Lee Torvik - ID

“I always greatly admired Hal and enjoyed acting with him in various First Nighters plays. And I wanted to express my sympathy to Thalia and his...Read More »
2 of 10 | Posted by: Francee Levin - Columbia, SC

“I just heard from Bert passed away. I didn't know I would have been there.. He was a great leader and friend! ”
3 of 10 | Posted by: George Wilkins. - san antonio, TX

“Hope you and Joe are enjoying each others company up there as you did here on earth. ”
4 of 10 | Posted by: Lucy Paone - Ashburn, VA

“Thalia- You have my deepest sympathy.We know he is in a better place and not suffering but the lose is hard. Time helps but it takes a while. You are...Read More »
5 of 10 | Posted by: Nancy Long - Chicora, PA - friend

“I will miss my older brother, my hero. He will live on in my memories. ”
6 of 10 | Posted by: Bob Birch - Howard, OH - Brother

“Farewell Soldier, we will miss you but know you are in the loving arms of our Lord and Savior . Bless all those sodiers who have gone before you ...Read More »
7 of 10 | Posted by: Colonel Edward F Corcoran

“Our sincere condolences are extended to Hal's family. ”
8 of 10 | Posted by: Dan and Nancy Sabia

“Thalia...this is such a sad time to lose the love of your life...please know you are thought about with fondness...Bob and I both loved being around...Read More »
9 of 10 | Posted by: Gayle Poppell and Bob Harman - SC

“The staff of Dunbar Funeral Home extends sincere condolences to the family of Col. Hal Birch. ”
10 of 10 | Posted by: Jessica P. Kline - Columbia, SC


COLUMBIA A private graveside ceremony for Col. Harold Boyd Birch, U.S. Army (Ret.), was held Monday, December 3, 2012, in the Hebrew Benevolent Society Cemetery. Hal Birch, who died Saturday, December 1, 2012, was born in Pittsburgh, PA on May 1, 1929. He was the son of the late Harold Boyd, Sr. and Helen Fulton Birch.
His educational degrees include a BS in Forestry from Penn State University, a Masters Degree in Education from Colorado State University, a Masters Degree in International Studies from George Washington University and a Ph.D in Political Science from the University of South Carolina. He was also a graduate of the Marine Corps Command & Staff College in Quantico, VA., and the National War College in Washington, D.C. At Colorado State University, he was a ROTC instructor and later served as a faculty member at both the Command & General Staff College in Fort Leavenworth, KS., and the Army War College in Carlisle, PA. At the Pentagon, he served as a staff officer, both on the Army Staff and with the Joint Chiefs of Staff.
During his 30 years of military service as an infantryman, Col. Birch was a Platoon Leader and Company Commander during the Korean War. In Vietnam he served as Battalion Commander of the 1st Battalion, 12th Infantry, 4th Division and then as Division Personnel Officer. His military service ended at Fort Jackson where he commanded a Brigade and then served as the post's operations officer. In addition to earning two Combat Infantry Badges, his awards included two Legions of Merit, three Bronze Stars for Valor, three Meritorious Service Medals, five Air Medals and a Purple Heart.
After his military retirement, Dr. Birch spent ten years at the University of South Carolina where he served as an Assistant Research Professor. There, he taught undergraduate and graduate classes and served as assistant to the department chairman. He published chapters in textbooks on state government and authored an instructor's guide for a textbook on state and local government. With other faculty members, he wrote and co-wrote numerous op-ed pieces that were published in newspapers in three states. After retirement from the University of South Carolina, he wrote and published two books about PA volunteer infantry regiments in the Civil War that had seen service in S.C. The 50th PA's Civil War Odyssey was published in 2003; The 101st PA in the Civil War in 2007.
In addition to his hunting and fishing activities, for many years he was President of the Midlands Penn State Alumni Group. He was also involved in a Great Books Discussion group and an active participant in First Nighters, a play-reading group. He was a member of the Korean War Memorial Committee that organized and oversaw the efforts that led to the erection of the Korean War Memorial in Memorial Park. Governor Hodges presented him with the Order of the Silver Crescent for his work and leadership in this effort.
He is survived by his wife of 58 years, Thalia Womersley Birch; his son and daughter-in-law, David Boyd and Alice Liu Birch; his grandson, William Boyd Birch and his brother, Robert W. Birch. In addition to his parents, he is predeceased by a sister, Beverly Birch Taylor.