March 9th, 1934 - July 27, 2020 In the early morning hours of July 27th, 2020, while the bright and morning star was rising in the east with her daughter Suzan and granddaughter Annalyse by her side, Vera Doreen (Birch) Kulp, left her earthly home and met her Lord and Saviour, Jesus Christ, and is now reunited with her Mum and sisters. Vera, better known to her family as Nanny, was born on a brisk English day in Kingston Upon Thames, Surrey, England on March 9th, 1934, very near Hampton Court, to Alice Louise (Weller) Birch and Arthur George Birch. George, a British Army veteran of The Great War was a decorator and Alice kept busy keeping her eye on their 5 other children when Vera arrived on the scene near the banks of the Thames. She remarked that Vera was the one who kept her on her toes, and she had 4 sons by that time! Vera grew up in the next town east of Kingston Upon Thames in New Malden on Potters Grove. Being a mere 5 years old when the Nazis started WWII, she, with her older sister Joyce and two younger sisters Brenda and Avril, were evacuated to the countryside to escape the Blitz in Operation Pied Piper. Their conditions were less than ideal, so they escaped and returned home to their mother, where she witnessed the battle for the skies over England. Thankfully for all the family, a buzz bomb that nearly landed in their garden, flew away after stopping above them. After the war, times were hard in England, but she learned the value of everyone doing their bit and the joys of daily family life. She often spoke of one of her favorite jobs as a young person was as a wine taster. . . the owner celebrated Christmas well, with parties like Mr. Fezziwig in A Christmas Carol. Her love of theater and movies led her to a job that would change her life forever, where she met a young Yank, who bought way too much popcorn and watched the same movies over and over. She had heeded her Mum's warning to "stay away from those Yanks" but could not resist the polite and genuine charm of Johnny Kulp, a young USAF Airman assigned to the Air Force Base in Bushy Park nearby. Both John and Vera walked miles to meet at the theater, he from the base and her from home. They were united in marriage on June 20th, 1953 in the Methodist Church in New Malden, with nearly all the Birch family there. In June of 1954, a baby girl, Lyn, was born to Vera and John, who were still in England. When John's orders sent them to the States, another baby girl, Debi, was born in upstate New York in September of 1958, and upon John's reassignment to England, she gave birth to a third daughter, Susan, in Wiltshire in April of 1963, near where John was based. The winds of war were blowing hard in south east Asia in the sixties, and when John was ordered to Viet Nam, Vera packed up the girls and moved to Tampa, Florida, for a very warm and humid year, without knowing a soul. At the end of Johns tour of duty in SE Asia, Vera and the girls were waiting for him at his new duty station, McChord AFB near Tacoma. Eventually they settled down in a house on East 46th Street where her youngest daughter could go to school across the street and made a home that many kids loved to come to. She loved to spend time with her English Club friends in Lakewood and became famous for her English tarts. Her early life of walking everywhere established her love of it and she and John spent many hours taking the girls and their family dog on walks, camping trips to national parks and the outdoors in general. She did not let a little rain stop the family from getting out into nature. She and John sold their home in 2001, bought a fifth wheel and moved to Holiday Park on McChord AFB where they truly lived in the woods for several years, while waiting for one of their daughters to finish her house where she would spend the next 15 years living in the country on a 40 acre farm in Bow, WA. She loved it there and she and John created a peaceful garden that she enjoyed very nearly to her last days here on earth. Being incredibly fit, most she met did not believe her when she divulged her age, which had served her well in her previous battles with cancer, so she bravely met her last challenger and steadfastly gave it a go to beat it again even when it suddenly became aggressive. She passed down her fighting British turned American spirit to her 3 daughters, 10 grandchildren and 13 great-grandchildren. She was preceded in death by her parents and nearly all her brothers and sisters. She is survived by her sister Avril of Sedlescombe, UK, her three daughters and their husbands, Lyn and Rod Fleming of Mount Vernon, WA, Debi and Lee Barker of Olympia, WA and Suzan and Roger Hurd of Bow, WA. Most importantly to her was her love for her Saviour, Jesus Christ, evident in all she did, which she shared even into her last days on earth, with her prayers that all her family would come to saving faith in Jesus Christ. Please visit www.hawthornefh.com to sign the online guest register and share your thoughts and memories. Arrangements are under the care of Hawthorne Funeral Home, Mount Vernon, WA.
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