October 11 1920 May 27 2020
Jean’s Obituary Emma “Jean” Birkey, 99, of Rantoul died at 8:42 p.m. Wednesday, May 27, 2020, at OSF Hospital, Urbana. Due to COVID-19 restrictions there will be no public visitation, funeral or gravesite services. The family will plan to have a celebration for family and friends at a later date. Baier Family Funeral Services, Paxton is assisting the family with arrangements. Jean was born October 11, 1920 in Mode, Illinois the daughter of Forest Allen and Hattie Davis Allen. She married Floyd Birkey on February 27, 1941 in Chicago. He preceded her in death on November 1, 2009. Surviving are her daughters, Shirley (Roger) Greenup of Brentwood, TN; and Donna Kay Birkey (Charles L. Settle) of Fulton, KY; her sons Ron (RaNae) Birkey of Miramar Beach, FL; and Brian Birkey of Champaign; three granddaughters; Holly Ashford (Brian Sampson & family) of Ackworth, IA, Carrie (Baron) Verge of Murfreesboro, TN and Kathryn McCoy (Bruce Alan Hedgecock II) of Clinton, IN; and three great grandchildren, Jakin Seabert of Clinton, IN, Isabella Ashford of Ackworth, IA and Chloe Verge of Murfreesboro, TN. She was preceded in death by her parents; four sisters and six brothers. Jean attended grade school at a rural schoolhouse near Mode, IL. At the age of ten her family moved to a farm in Fisher, IL. There she continued her education and graduated from Fisher High School in 1938. She first worked at the Dewey State Bank in Dewey, IL. Before and after that period of time, she and two of her sisters, Kathryn and Mary, formed a singing trio called the Three A’s. They performed for many years on radio stations in Champaign on WDWS and in Chicago on WLS. Seven days before Floyd went off to serve the US Army in World War II, she gave birth to their first child, Shirley. Soon after Jean and Shirley moved to Chicago where Jean served as a nanny for a family there. After the war Floyd and Jean raised three more children in Fisher. In the 60’s and 70’s she was a sales agent for Mutual of Omaha & Continental Casualty and then worked as a real estate agent in the Champaign and Ford County area. In 1978 Floyd and Jean retired and moved to Horseshoe Bend, AR where they resided for 22 years. They returned to live in the Champaign County area in 2000. Her beloved husband of 68 years passed away in 2009. Jean was baptized at the First United Methodist Church in Fisher and was a longtime member of the First United Methodist Church in Paxton. She was involved with various community and civic organizations in Fisher, Paxton and Horseshoe Bend, AR. These included the Beta Sigma Phi chapters: Preceptor Alpha Gamma in Arkansas, Zi Eta Omicron in Rantoul and Alpha Rho Master in Paxton. To say that she had a gregarious personality would be an understatement. Her happiest moments were when she was surrounded by her children and her family. She loved any occasion to be together with family and friends. She was a wonderful mother, grandmother and great-grandmother and will be greatly missed by all. While our hearts are broken at our loss, we take great comfort in knowing she is with her Savior and by the knowledge that she is at peace and has now received her much-deserved reward and rest. It will be difficult to measure and impossible to know the psychological effect on her after two months of isolation at her apartment without visitations from family and friends. But saddest situation to endure was during her final five days in the hospital without the support of any family or friends. In lieu of flowers, memorial donations can be made in her memory to the Paxton First United Methodist Church or the Paxton Food Pantry c/o Baier Family Funeral Services, 406 E Pells St., Paxton, 60957. Condolences may be offered at www.baierfuneralservices.com. Read More
Our most sincere sympathies to the family and friends of Jean Birkey October 11 1920 May 27 2020.
Death notice for the town of: Paxton, state: Illinois