Printed on: December 13, 2012


Birthdays are accepted starting with the 50th. The entry deadline is 10 a.m. Monday. Call 542-6781 or email

NORVAL WAYNE BIRCH 80th, Dec. 13, 1932: Celebrating his 80th birthday today, Dec. 13, 2012, is Norval Birch of St. Anthony. He was born in Rexburg to Albert and Alice Taylor Birch. He was the fifth son of a family of five brothers and one sister. He spent his entire life managing and working on the family farm in Wilford, Idaho. They started farming with horses, as well as raising cattle, chickens, pigs and sheep. He raised potatoes for 60 years as well as wheat, barley, hay and peas.

He met Karen Johnson while she was working in Thriftway Drug in St. Anthony, and they were married in the Idaho Falls Temple on March 14, 1952. They lived the first few years of their married life on the farm in Wilford and then bought a little house in St. Anthony. They remodeled and built onto that home several times and they still live there today, on East Main, where they raised their two children, Teresa (Patrick) Horkley of Idaho Falls and Michael (Lyn) Birch, also of Idaho Falls. Together, Norval and Karen have five grandchildren and eight great-grandchildren, who are the light of their lives.

Norval worked hard at several different jobs. He was a foreman of a potato warehouse and then worked for 27 years for the state of Idaho as a potato inspector. After retiring, he focused on family and on raising his beautiful flowers in his yard. His hobbies include woodworking, fishing, gardening and fixing anything that is broken.

Norval has been an active member of the LDS church, serving as executive secretary, Sunday school president, High Priest leader and a well-loved home teacher.

Norval and Karen have traveled a lot and have seen most of the United States, Europe, China, Japan, Germany, England, France, Spain and Italy.

He will be joined at his birthday celebration by his children, his grandchildren and his great-grandchildren.

BLAINE KYLE DOWNS 80th, Dec. 10, 1932: On Sunday, Dec. 9, 2012, Blaine Kyle Downs celebrated his 80th birthday with a family gathering in Idaho Falls.

Born Dec. 10, 1932, on "the coldest day of the year in the bottom of the Great Depression,"

Blaine Kyle lived in Utah until age 2, when his parents moved to Lewisville, Idaho. Fond childhood memories include friends, baseball, apples and cheese curds, hard work, bicycles and horses. The morning after delivering the eighth grade valedictorian speech at Lewisville Elementary in 1947, Kyle rode Roudy, his favorite horse, 35 miles to Hamer to the family's newly purchased log house and farm.

Hamer High School saw his freshman year, but the school district consolidated and he completed his education at Roberts High School, where Kyle delivered his second valedictorian address.

Upon graduation, he served in the armed forces during the Korean War from 1953 to 1955 as a Morse code radio operator in Germany.

While attending Ricks College, Kyle married Shirley Zweifel in September 1956. Together, they purchased the family farm in Hamer and began its development. Contracting as a land-leveling scraper operator during this time led to Kyle's 36-year career with the Soil Conservation Service.

In 1971, Kyle and Shirley purchased a farm in Terreton closer to his work, where he continued raising cattle and farming, along with his Soil Conservation career.

Kyle and Shirley continue to enjoy their life together in Terreton. They are blessed with seven children: Kevin, Beverly, Becky, Tim, Brenda, Kenn and Kimberly.

Happy 80th birthday, Dad -- we love you!