Obituary: Burch, William Eugene (Bill)
BURCH, William Eugene (Bill) Bill Burch was born January 27, 1925 in Spokane, WA to Arthur I. and Jean Burch. He was the youngest of four brothers. He passed away peacefully in his sleep on February 19, 2013. Bill grew up in Spokane, WA where he graduated from Lewis and Clark High School in 1943. He was Student Body President and a track star. In May 1943 he was inducted into the Army Air Force, and as a 2nd Lt. became a flight instructor at Luke Field, AZ. He trained pilots who were sent from China by Chiang Kai- Shek. Just before the war ended and he was to be shipped to the South Pacific to fly P-51s he married his high school sweetheart Mimi Meyer. The couple moved to Seattle and he completed his degree from the University of Washington and affiliated with Sigma Nu Fraternity. They moved back to Spokane and he attended night school at Gonzaga University, working days at McGovern Carroll Insurance Brokers. He received his Doctorate of Law in 1951. He served on the Gonzaga Board of Regents and Trustees for over 25 years and was a recipient of the Distinguished Alumnae Award of Gonzaga University. The William E. Burch Student Apartments on campus were named in his honor. In 1951 he joined McGovern Carroll as a full time insurance producer. He and Mimi also produced three loving daughters, Kathleen, Peisha and Mary. He not only rose to the top in his company when he was made president, but also in the insurance field. He was the youngest man to be elected president of the Washington Association of Insurance Agents and also served as president of the Association of Washington Businesses. In 1968 he married his soulmate, Gloria, and they combined their families of six children. He served his community heading up the United Way Campaign, and as president of the Chamber of Commerce in 1969, was involved in the planning of the Spokane Worlds Fair of 1974. That same year under his leadership the company merged with Fred S. James International Insurance Brokerage Firm headquartered in Chicago and he became a member of the Executive Committee. He was a member of the Spokane and Hayden Lake Country Clubs. During the Christmas Holidays of 1973 he took the whole family to Hawaii. While there he purchased a condo on the beach near Kehei, Maui; The family and friends enjoyed visits there until it was sold. In early 1974 Bill was called to corporate headquarters in Chicago and in the spring of 1975 was elected President and CEO of Fred S. James. While in Chicago he served as Trustee of the Children’s Home and Aid Society of Illinois and Trustee of Seabury-Western Seminary. He was a member of the Chicago Club and the Glenview Country Club. After his retirement in 1984 he and Gloria moved to Rancho Mirage, CA for the winter seasons and he served on the board of Thunderbird C. C. and vestry of St. Margaret’s Episcopal Church in Palm Desert. He also served as Counsel of Lukins and Annis Attorneys at Law of Spokane, Director of Jepson Corporation, Kuhlman Corporation, Guy F. Atkinson and Company during the time they were involved with the construction of the Mercer Island tunnels and bridge and Central Pre-Mix Corporation. He also enjoyed retirement at his beloved home of 25 years on Lake Pend Oreille near Sandpoint, ID. He was an avid skier, enjoyed tennis, golf, hiking and boating. He not only enjoyed his Lyman on Lake Pend o’reille but also cruising in the San Juans and Canadian Islands in his motor yacht “The High Tide”. He and Gloria were world travelers cruising the Mediterranean on a yacht they owned with friends, skied in the alps, traveled throughout Europe and cruised to many countries in the world. In 1991 they sold their lake home and moved to the coast first to a home near Poulsbo, WA then to Kirkland and Bellevue and in 2009 to Mirabella Seattle for their final years. Bill had a deep and total love for his wife, Gloria, for his family, his friends, his fellow man, his country and God. His motto was “Do the right thing!” He will be missed by his family, his wife Gloria, daughters Kathleen Corbett, Peisha McPhee, Mary Burch and son Patrick Burch, stepchildren Taylor Collings (Anita) and, Rory Farrow (George) 6 grandchildren and a greatgranddaughter, and three nephews, Lee, Marc and Craig Burch and his many friends. There will be a private memorial service at a later date. Remembrances can be made to Gonzaga University, Alzheimer’s Association, or a charity of your choice.