Sen. Chris Birch has passed suddenly from a heart attack today. Details will be included here as they become available.
UPDATE FROM THE FAMILY
Around 9:00 pm yesterday evening our husband, dad and hero, Chris Birch, passed away at Providence Hospital in Anchorage, Alaska surrounded by loved ones. His day yesterday was as normal as any, he was happy to be home from extended time in Juneau and was busy taking care of household chores, going on a walk with my mom and their dog Otto, planning a hike in Girdwood, and enjoying a great dinner with friends. Just after 7:00 pm, he experienced severe chest pains and was driven to the Anchorage Fire Department station on O’Malley road and from their taken to the hospital. It was immediately determined he did not have a heart attack and as they were administering tests to determine the cause of the pain, he went into cardiac arrest and passed away from an an aortic dissection, a torn or ruptured aorta.
Our family is devastated. The same optimistic, level-headed, steadfast, honest, gregarious, and positive public persona that so many of you knew, was the exact same husband, father, grandfather, brother, uncle, and friend that he was to all of us. He was the ultimate cheerleader and it is difficult to imagine this world without him. Our thanks go out to the dedicated professionals at the Anchorage Fire Department and the legions of staff at Providence Hospital that did everything in their power to help him, Anchorage is lucky to have these assets. My mom is blanketed with love and support from family and friends and we appreciate the kind words from so many of you near and far. Life is short and can change at any moment. He never missed an opportunity to give a hug, lend a hand, or spend time with his loved ones. My only recommendation is to try to live your life like Chris Birch did, I know we do everyday.
Logan, Pam, and Tali Birch
Birch and his family have been in Alaska since the 1950s. He and his wife, Pam, married in 1978 and have two grown children and four grandchildren born and raised in Alaska.
In 1944, Birch’s dad, Frank, came to Adak with the US Marine Corps. After the war, he returned to Alaska with his wife, Bettijeanne. Chris grew up in mining camps near Fairbanks and in the Brooks Range.
Chris earned a Bachelor’s degree in Mining Engineering from the University of Alaska in Fairbanks in 1972, as well as a Master of Science degree in Engineering Management in 1979. He has been a licensed professional engineer in Alaska since 1978.
He moved to Anchorage with Alyeska Pipeline Service Company in 1991, and worked in engineering, business development or management capacities with Alyeska Pipeline, Ted Stevens Anchorage International Airport and NANA Development Corporation prior to retirement.
He was elected to the Alaska House of Representatives in 2016 and to the Alaska Senate in 2018 representing South Anchorage.
Check back for details.