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Ed and Sue Birch Honored with Life Chronicles’ Father Virgil Remarkable Life Award

The couple are recognized for their longtime dedication and hard work on behalf of the Santa Barbara community

Sue and Ed Birch, recipients of Life Chronicles’ Father Virgil Remarkable Life Award, before Thursday night’s ceremony at Fess Parker’s DoubleTree Resort.
Sue and Ed Birch, recipients of Life Chronicles’ Father Virgil Remarkable Life Award, before Thursday night’s ceremony at Fess Parker’s DoubleTree Resort.  (Rochelle Rose / Noozhawk photo)

By Rochelle Rose, Noozhawk Contributing Writer | @NoozhawkNews |

Longtime locals Ed and Sue Birch received Life Chronicles’ Father Virgil Remarkable Life Award on Thursday night at a Valentine's Day-themed gala at Fess Parker’s DoubleTree Resort in Santa Barbara.

The second annual award is named after the remarkable life of the late Father Virgil from the Santa Barbara Parish of Old Mission Santa Barbara. Father Charles and Father Larry were present at the dinner representing the parish.

Founded in Santa Barbara 16 years ago, the mission of Life Chronicles is to provide comfort to people during defining times in their lives by providing video recordings about their life experiences as well as their messages of love and wisdom for future generations.

Its services are available to individuals, of any age, affected by serious illness such as cancer, ALS and Alzheimer's disease, as well as those age 65 or older regardless of health.

“We have served almost 1,100 families in 216 cities throughout the United States, Canada and the United Kingdom," founder and Executive Director Kate Carter said.

The Birchs were recognized for their dedication and hard work on behalf of the Santa Barbara community.

As a volunteer, Sue Birch has given her time as a Cancer Center of Santa Barbara children’s group counselor, Westmont College’s president’s trips planner and leader, church school teacher and Laguna Emeritus Society. She served on the boards of the Cancer Center, Opera Santa Barbara, Storyteller Children's Center and the Johns Hopkins Wilmer Eye Institute.

A senior advisor with Union Bank, Ed Birch, Ph.D., had served on the Santa Barbara Bank & Trust board since 1982. He served as UCSB vice chancellor from 1976 to 1993. He is a trustee of the Margaret C. Mosher Foundation and a board member of the Community Arts Music Association, Westmont College, Channel City Club and Santa Barbara Club.

Life Chronicles
Life Chronicles board chairwoman Nicole Tanner, left, founder and Executive Director Kate Carter and board member Steven Tanner. (Rochelle Rose / Noozhawk photo)

During a festive cocktail hour and silent auction bidding, guests enjoyed the music and vocals of A la Carte. A dinner of pear and citrus salad, chicken breast with parmesan risotto, and white cheesecake followed.

Carter started the program with the welcome. Board chairwoman Nicole Tanner, Ph.D., presented "A Voice from the Board."

“I started as a volunteer with Life Chronicles when it began 16 years ago," Tanner told Noozhawk. "Hearing the stories was so profound and so moving; I just couldn’t help but to become more involved. We all want to something that makes a difference, and that is what we are doing at Life Chronicles.”

Similarly, board member Steven Stratton said: “I live in San Jose, but distance doesn’t make a difference. I lost my wife to cancer 16 years ago, and having a video of her to show to my sons would mean so much to me.”

Top sponsor at the event was Union Bank represented by president George Leis, Randy Weiss, Felicia Sutherland, Penny Sharett, Michael Zuckerman and other bank staffers. Other important sponsors included the Hutton Parker Foundation, the Mosher Foundation, the UCSB Foundation, Rusack Vineyards, Keith Berry, Montecito Bank & Trust, Robert and Christine Emmons, David and Barbara Beihl, Pete and Gerd Jordano, Sony Corp., Michael and Anne Towbes, and James and Chana Jackson.

For more information on Life Chronicles, click here or call 805.682.3411.

Noozhawk contributing writer Rochelle Rose can be reached at [email protected]. Follow Noozhawk on Twitter: @noozhawk, @NoozhawkSociety, @NoozhawkNews and @NoozhawkBiz. Become a fan of Noozhawk on Facebook.

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