Serving Whitman County since 1877

Pauline Joyce Birch

Birch, Pauline Joyce, age 94 of Spokane, entered into rest on December 13th, 2022, surrounded by loved ones. Born Pauline Hodgson in Thornton, WA, to John and Pearl Hodgson on April 22th, 1928, she attended school in Rosalia where she worked as a nanny to young children in the community and briefly as the local librarian.

Pauline had a sweet spirit and gentle nature. She had many penpals over the years whom she cherished deeply. She loved reading their letters, making new friends and learning about their lives.

When she was 24, she met her sweetheart, Alexander Birch, through the Lonely Hearts Penpal Club. They married in 1951 and moved to Spokane. Al loved joking, "I checked out the librarian and never brought her back... Imagine the fine!" The new couple purchased a home on Maple Street where they had their only daughter Teresa in 1954. Pauline was a homemaker and their home was always filled with love and laughter. Friends and family would come to visit often and were always welcomed with open arms.

When Al retired in 1980, they could be seen riding their matching cruiser bicycles through the neighborhood. She loved to read, especially stories about cats and their adventures. She appreciated the simple things in life and always had a calming presence about her.

Pauline was a historian in her own way. She clipped and saved countless articles over the years and followed local events in the daily newspaper, which she frequently read to her husband Al. Some news stories, such as the historic fire which swept through Malden, WA, were of particular interest to her. She mentioned it frequently and even traveled with her granddaughter to see what remained from the old Malden post office shortly before her passing.

Pauline was a skilled Chinese Checkers player and enjoyed playing with friends. She kept a well-used game board nearby which was hand-made by her brother, Floyd. She would even let us win from time to time. It had become something we looked forward to - visiting her home, plugging in the electric kettle to brew some Lipton tea and playing a friendly game together.

The world has lost a kind and generous soul. Pauline touched countless people's lives and she will be remembered fondly. She is survived by her granddaughter, Melinda Hurt as well as many close friends and extended family. If you would like to send a bereavement gift, please consider donations in her name to Spokane Humane Society. Pauline believed in their mission and in protecting the welfare of animals. A celebration of her life will be held in the Spring. If you would like details about the celebration, please send an email to


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