Senator Birch honored at celebration of life

A celebration of life is being held in remembrance of Senator Chris Birch Thursday in Anchorage, at 3PM AKST. Birch died last week, August 7th, at Providence Hospital due to cardiac arrest at the age of 68. (Photo courtesy of the Alaska Senate Majority)

FAIRBANKS, Alaska (KTVF) A celebration of life is being held in remembrance of Senator Chris Birch Thursday in Anchorage, at 3PM AKST. Birch died last week, August 7th, at Providence Hospital due to cardiac arrest at the age of 68.

Birch was born in Sterling, Illinois, but he spent 50 years in the Last Frontier. In 1968, Birch moved to Fairbanks and began pursuing a Bachelor of Science degree in Mining Engineering. He continued his education with the University of Alaska until 1979, when he achieved his second degree, a Master of Science in Engineering Management. In 1991, he moved to Anchorage where he began his political career. Birch served on Anchorage's Municipal Assembly for 9 years, before he began working in the state legislature. In 2017, he was elected to the House for District 26. In this latest cycle, he was elected to the Senate for District M.

He leaves behind his wife, Pam, and two children, Logan and Tali. He also leaves behind four grandchildren. His family said Birch seemed to be in good health on the day of his death, and that they were surprised by his passing.

Many have spoken out in reverence of the Senator, including Fairbanks Mayor Jim Matherly.

"My good friend died last week, Chris Birch," began Matherly. "I've known Chris a long time, 40 years… 42 years. I was there when he met his wife, and I was there when he dated his wife. We hung out together over the years. Of course he had moved on to a different city but he never lost contact with me. When he got elected to the Senate I was very happy for him. He was always very approachable and very polite."

With his passing, Governor Dunleavy is tasked with filling Senate Seat M. The application process to apply for the seat has already begun and will continue until August 18th. The Position must be filled by September 7th.

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