Rural 05
Official Obituary of

Ralph Marlyn Bircham

April 13, 1932 ~ January 20, 2024 (age 91) 91 Years Old

Ralph Bircham Obituary

Ralph Marlyn Bircham

April 13, 1932 – January 20, 2024, aged 91 years

Born in Maple Creek, SK, Ralph was the fourth child of Alfred and Mary Bircham (nee Hodgson).  Ralph grew up on the bench south of Piapot with siblings Tom, Bob, Ivy and Shirley.  He received his education at Kealey Springs, a one room country school.  School was finished for Ralph once he completed Grade 10 and it was then that he embarked on his working career.

Ralph helped on the ranch at home on the bench with his brother Bob as well as going off to work on other ranches for short periods.  It is said that Bob and Ralph didn’t talk much, and each always knew what the other was thinking.  This made their relationship work very well but was not as useful for those of us that were not quite as good at mind reading.

Ralph recalls his first job was working at Harold Patton’s place down the road to the east.  This first job included helping Mrs. Patton clean out a 15’ well by hand.  Other jobs in the area included three years at Harold Winzer’s, where the work was hard, and the days were long.  His working career also included some time at Ft. McMurray Alberta.  His last employment in the area was at Leot Sanderson’s just up the road. 

Ralph met Doris Shearwood when the Shearwoods came to visit the Birchams.  He says it was love at first sight and their courtship continued while she trained to be a nurse in Calgary.  They were married July 4, 1959 at the home where she grew up in the Carnagh district. Ralph and Doris then moved to Edmonton for a year and he worked for a transport company while Doris took a postgraduate course in Nursing.

Ralph and Doris returned to Piapot in 1960, purchasing the Mitt Newkirk place on Bear Creek. They arrived at their newly purchased ranch with all their worldly possessions in a half ton truck. It is here that Ralph resided up until his passing.  Doris passed away February 13, 2018 and for the past six years Ralph managed on his own with very little assistance.

Ralph raised quality Hereford cattle for many years and to say ranching was his passion is an understatement.  Eventually Wayne convinced him to start cross breeding with Black Angus cattle and he came to love the black baldies.  Lately he had even taken a shine to the black Simmental calves in the pen.  He “retired” and sold the ranch to Wayne and Erin, but continued to work on the ranch until November 28th when he was admitted to hospital.  He was happiest while living and working on the ranch, so we are very grateful that the time he spent in hospital and care homes was brief.

Ralph is survived by his son Wayne and Erin Bircham; grandchildren Leigh and Olivia Bircham, Jordan Bircham and Traci Henderson, great grandson Eric Bircham (also know as “the little man” to great grandpa).  Daughter Dena and Bryce Weiss, grandchildren Clark Weiss and Elizabeth Chmelyk, Shelby and David Moser, great grandchildren Karsten, Victoria and Josephine Weiss, Brooks and Scotty Moser.  Also surviving is one sister Shirley Martens (Harry Tyrell) of Spruce Grove AB, sister-in-law Marlene Shearwood of Kelowna, BC as well as several nieces and nephews.

Funeral services were held January 29th 2024 at the Ranch.

In lieu of flowers donations can be made to the Southwest Healthcare Trust c/o Cypress Credit Union.

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Funeral Service
January 29, 2024

2:00 PM
Bircham Ranch Sale Barn
8 miles south of Piapot, SK
Piapot, SK S0N 1Y0

Video is available for this event


Southwest Healthcare Trust Fund
c/o Cypress Credit Union PO Box 1060, Maple Creek SK S0N 1N0
Tel: 1-306-662-2683


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