Birch Criss passed away peacefully on November 22, 2021. During his time with us he was a loving son, husband, father and a good friend.
Edgar Birch Criss was born on December 28, 1935 in Cleveland, MS to Helen Davis and G.D.Criss, who taught him to love God and his neighbor. He had an idyllic childhood, rode his bicycle to school, learned to fish and hunt, and eventually wandered onto to a golf course where he developed a life-long passion for the game.
After graduating from Cleveland High School in 1953, Birch earned a BS degree from Delta State College, and later a Masters Degree from the University of Southern Mississippi. He served in the US Army and the Mississippi National Guard, honorably discharged as a first lieutenant. He began a career working in industry as a chemist, but following a serious heart attack began a second career as a high school chemistry and physics teacher. He loved teaching and was beloved by his students.
Birch would most like to be remembered as a man devoted to his family. He and Gail DenBleyker married in 1970 and had a daughter, Dallas. When they moved to Hayesville in 1992 for Gail's work, Birch retired and became a full-time house husband. He was a member of Good Shepherd Episcopal Church and made many good friends at Chatuge Shores golf course.
He was preceded in death by his parents, Helen and G.D. Criss, parents in-law Grace and Daniel DenBleyker and brother-in-law Dan DenBleyker. Birch will be missed by Gail and Dallas, son-in-law Glen Fagan, step-grandsons Connor (Alysa) and Liam Fagan, and life-long best friend, Sonny Ramsay. He was also loved by in-laws Karin DenBleyker, Kai and Deidre DenBleyker, Gary and Kim DenBleyker, Joyce DenBleyker and Elliot and Stuart (Sylvia) Farber.
A memorial service will be scheduled later. The family asks that in lieu of flowers, memorials besent to the Good Shepherd Episcopal Church Outreach Ministry (P.O. Box 677, Hayesville, NC 28904) or Christmas Care of Clay County (c/o The Hinton Center, 2330 Hinton Center Road, Hayesville, NC 28904).
Townson-Rose Funeral Home is in charge of all arrangements.
You may send tributes to the family at www.townson-rose.com