John Charles Birmingham, 67
John Charles Birmingham, age 67 of Nashua, IA, died Monday, March 20, 2023, at University of Iowa Hospitals and Clinics in Iowa City.
A Memorial Service will be held at 11 a.m. Friday, March 31, 2023, at the United Methodist Church in Nashua with Pastor Sarah Namukose officiating.
Friends may greet the family from 9 to 11 a.m. Friday, March 31, 2023, prior to the service at the church in Nashua.
A graveside service will take place at a later date.
Hugeback-Johnson Funeral Home & Crematory/Olson Chapel of Nashua has been entrusted with arrangements, and online condolences for John’s family can be left at hugebackfuneralhome.com.
John’s well-lived life began on Dec. 23, 1955, when his parents, Francis and Ruth (Boulette) Birmingham, welcomed their only son into the world in Montreal, Canada. He grew up with his four sisters in Woodstock, a city of around 40,000 that is known as “The Friendly City” and is located in the southeastern corner of the Canadian province of Ontario.
He attended school in Woodstock and played football and was a standout shot put thrower on the track team, but his father, who ran a Hydrotile plant in Woodstock, was transferred to Nashua. John finished out his junior year in Canada and then joined his family in the United States, where he played football and set the school record in the shot put and was a state meet qualifier for the Nashua Bulldogs before graduating with the Class of 1973.
After high school, John worked several jobs before finding his true calling as a semi driver, and for more than 40 years, he bled diesel — driving his truck all over the country and into Canada. He was the consummate truck driver, always getting his loads to their destination both on time and safely, and he won numerous awards, including his company’s “Driver of the Year.”
As good of a driver as he was, though, John really made his mark in life with his family. Friends introduced him to Nancy Lawson in November 1977, and they began dating, fell in love and were married on March 6, 1982.
Nancy had a daughter, Holly, and the family grew to include three more children — Tim, Andy and Ashley — and they had a one-of-a-kind, larger-than-life father. They remember the anticipation they had knowing Dad was coming home to take them to the Lamplighter, Pizza Hut, roller skating and out for milkshakes. John also had a neat trick to get them to help clean out his truck; he told them that any change they found was theirs and they happily went to work for their father! And their friends loved hanging out at the Birminghams because it was always a party to be around John. He filled every room he ever stepped into with laughter and joy. He had that gift in that he made everyone feel special.
He was an extraordinary father but, if it was possible, he was an even better grandpa. Oh, how he loved spending time with his nine grandchildren, and trust us, the feeling was mutual. As one grandchild succinctly put it this week, “He’s cool.”
One of John’s loves was painting, and he delighted in building toy boxes that featured painting of cartoon characters for his grandchildren, nieces and nephews. In his younger days, he loved to go sailing, and he was always a voracious reader, especially Clive Cussler books, some of which he read multiple times. He also liked to cook his special “swill,” and while he may not have been the best cook, his trick was to add salsa to everything!
It’s hard for us to imagine what life will be like without John. Seeing him in his truck with his bib overalls was something all of us came to treasure, but the memories this man gave all of us — from his wife to his kids to his grandchildren to his friends — will truly last a lifetime. He was, as the Foo Fighters song puts it, “My Hero.”
John is survived by his wife of 41 years, Nancy of Nashua; his sons, Timothy Birmingham of Nashua, and Andy (Erin Moran) Birmingham of Des Moines; his daughters, Holly Randell of Ankeny, and Ashley (Matthew) Mundorf of Nashua; the nine apples of his eye, his grandchildren, Austin Birmingham, Kaysen Frelinger-Birmingham, Graham Randell, Clayton Randell, Jocelyn Randell, Carson Mundorf, Chole Mundorf, Dexter Mundorf and Bennett Mundorf; and his sisters, Jane (Wayne) Roberts of Florida, Peg Birmingham of North Dakota, Patricia (David) Mateo of North Carolina, and Pauline (Bryan Schmidt) of Iowa.
He was preceded in death by his parents, Frank and Ruth; and his wife’s parents, Tom and Barb Lawson.