Jennifer Birchall passed away on Saturday, September 30, 2017 at the age of 50 years. A true Calgary daughter, Jenn was born at the Grace Hospital, grew up in Brentwood, and went to Sir Winston Churchill High School. She attended Simon Fraser University before graduating with an English degree from the University of Calgary. Jenn worked at Sun Life prior to moving to Australia to be with Saul and the Britton family for 10 years. While living down under, Jenn took her cycling passion to a higher level, organizing and racing in fun and semi-professional bike races.
Jenn's editorial skills led to her operating a small newspaper, the highlight of which was her interview with Australia's Prime Minister, John Howard. Jenn summed up the experience by saying "He hated my guts".
Jenn loved her time abroad, but was drawn back to her true home - Calgary. During her journey back, Jenn and her beloved dog Peyto spent a year living in Laguna Beach, California. Jenn and her inseparable sidekick soaked up the sunny days and California ways... swimming in the Pacific Ocean, taking endless walks along the beach, drinking strong coffee late into the night, and enjoying whatever the universe brought their way.
Back home in Calgary, Jenn bought a condo in Glenwood Manor where her grandma once lived, and re-joined Calgary's workforce. Jenn landed a job at Rocky View County as the rural municipality's Communications Manager. It was a job she loved; with wonderful and talented colleagues who were like family. Jenn loved telling her colleagues that then-County Manager Rob Coon was "... the best boss everrrrrrrr".
Following a devastating stage IV metastatic breast cancer diagnosis in December 2009, Jenn never returned to her post at Rocky View. Rather than slow her down, however, this stark new reality redoubled Jenn's efforts to contribute to her community. Upon Jenn's return to Calgary, she was very involved with Guide Dogs and Service Dogs.
With me (her husband Pat) as her wingman, Jenn and her amazing friends have raised more than a half million dollars for cancer-related initiatives, such as The Birchall - Ellis Bursary Fund for Oncology Students at the University of Calgary.
Undoubtedly, Jenn's legacy will be the Pink Cup Charity Classic; a golf event dedicated to funding research into the detection, prevention, treatment and cure for the disease women fear the most. In her honour, Jenn's friends will continue to pursue her ultimate goal of reaching (and exceeding!) the million-dollar mark with the Pink Cup. Prior to Jenn's passing, the Pink Cup Charity Classic confirmed four events to be played over one day on August 10, 2018 at Fairmont Whistler, Fairmont Jasper Park Lodge, Fairmont Banff Springs, and Fairmont Montebello Quebec. Clearly, Jenn's passion is far from extinguished; her work far from over.
Jenn leaves behind her parents Rod and Ardi Birchall; sister Lorna (Will) and their daughter Raelene Henderson; brother Phil (Di) and their daughter Eva Birchall in London, Ontario; and brother Chris in Victoria, BC. Jenn has now joined her mom Eva, her grandparents James and Mary Jean Birchall - Stanley and Jean King, and of course her beloved dogs Peyto and Jack.
I tried my best to care for and comfort Jenn during her odyssey. Jenn and I had a tremendous amount of fun, but the last two years were difficult. That said, after all of Jenn's suffering and with nothing left in her tanks, it was my life's greatest moment to carry Jenn over the finish line. I miss her so much. And I know all of Jenn's wonderful friends, including Ag, miss her too.
Let us gather together to share Jenn stories, photos, music, and memories. Please join Officiants Shane Sinclair and Tim Moore, along with Jenn's family and I at Jenn's Celebration of Life. Celebration of Life will be held at First Alliance Church (12345, 40 Street SE) on Saturday, November 4, 2017 at 10:30 am, with doors opening and reception beginning at 9:00 am. Please contact firstname.lastname@example.org. If friends so desire, for those who wish to contribute to Jenn's legacy, memorial tributes may be made directly to the Canadian Cancer Society (200-325 Manning Road NE Calgary, AB T2E 2P5; 1-800-661-2262; http://convio.cancer.ca/goto/InMemoryofJennBirchall) or Hospice Calgary Rosedale Hospice (Hospice Calgary Society 1245 - 70 Avenue SE, Calgary, Alberta,T2H 2X8; 403-263-4525; www.hospicecalgary.ca/page/donate). The family wish/wishes to thank extend a very special thanks to Dr. Marc Webster, Dr. Lesley Coulter, Dr. Robert Nordal, Nurse Nancy Moore, the TBCC Medical Daycare, Unit 46, and WHC Nurses. They would also like to acknowledge Alison Potter's entire staff at Rosedale Hospice, where Drs. Kim Finvers, Linda Fong, Corinne McDonald and Tara Pickering made sure Jenn was comfortable. Arrangements in care of EVAN J. STRONG FUNERAL SERVICES. (403) 265-1199
Celebration of Life
NOV 4. 10:30 AM
12345-40 Street SE
Calgary, AB, CA