Memorial service John Douglas Birchem, 59, of Markham will be 1 pm Thursday, December 20, 2018 at the Colvin Town Hall in Makinen. A visitation will be one hour prior to the service. Memorials in John’s honor are preferred to the ALS Association of Minnesota 333 Washington Ave. N. Suite 105 Minneapolis, MN 55401 www.alsmn.org John died Sunday, December 16, 2018 at this home due to complication of ALS. He was born on May 5, 1959 to Douglas and Arleen (Meemken) Birchem in Eveleth, MN. John graduated from the Aurora-High School, Class of 1977. Following high school, John attended vocational school in Camby and Staples, MN where he studied diesel mechanics. One of John’s proudest accomplishments was the service truck he built and started Birchem Field Service. John also repaired trucks and logging equipment. John was employed by LTV Steel until their closure and most recently United Taconite until his retirement in May 2018 due to health issues. John’s passion was farming. He was known as “Farmer John” to the neighborhood kids. John and Nancy farmed together for many years raising beef cattle and sheep. John especially enjoyed making hay during the summers. John was proficient in several skills, many of which were self-taught. He was not afraid to venture on a new endeavor or learn a new practice. He will be remembered for his patience and perseverance in his work. John leaves some pretty big shoes to fill. Survivors include his life partner of thirty-seven years: Nancy Hill; his mother, Arleen Birchem of Makinen; four siblings: Jerry (Janet Roskos) Birchem of Bovey, Jackie (Brad) Caron of Alexandria, Joel (Linda) Birchem of Elizabeth, CO, and Jaimie (Tracie) Birchem of Biwabik; as well as numerous nieces and nephews and his beloved cat, Daisy. He was preceded in death by his father, Douglas; Nancy’s parents: Harold and Alma Hill and his nephew, Tyler Birchem.