Carl Lester Birkner
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Carl Lester Birkner
  • November 8, 1927 - January 27, 2018
  • Illinois

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Bisch Funeral Home

2931 South Koke Mill Road
Springfield, IL 62711
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Carl Lester Birkner, 90, of Springfield, passed away on Saturday, January 27, 2018 at his home.

He was born on Nov. 8, 1927 in Pinckneyville, IL, the son of the late Edward Peter and Charlote Johanna (Loos) Birkner.

Carl attended grade schools at Van Brunt and Brick Schools in Pinckneyville area and graduated from Pinckneyville Community High School in 1945. He participated in football, basketball, and track in high school and received financial aid to attend University of Kentucky during the summer of 1945. He then began school at Southern Illinois Normal University in the fall of 1945. He graduated from Southern Illinois University in 1949. (Note: SIUN had become a full university during his junior year in college and became SIU. The word "Normal" was an indication that it was a school for training teachers to become teachers). He made several trips out west to follow wheat harvest during the late 40's and early 50's. Between 1949-50 and 1950-51 he taught at Brush Prairie Grade School, a one room school northwest of Pinckneyville. Between 1951-52 and 1952-53 he taught and was a basketball coach at Pinckneyville Grade School. In 1953-54 he was a teacher and assistant football coach at Pinckneyville High School. He sang and played guitar on Radio Station WDON in Du Quoin during spring and summer of 1954. In the fall of 1954 he was an International Farm Youth Exchange (IFYE) delegate to India during September to December. In 1955 he began teaching in Springfield, IL at Lanphier High School. He went to Edison Middle School when the Edison building was built and taught there for many years. In 1975-76 he took a leave of absence to study guitar in Boston. Upon his return from Boston, he taught 6th grade at Webster and Withrow Grade Schools until his retirement in 1982. While teaching at Edison he gave after school guitar lessons at Walkos Music Store for about 10years, and sometimes on Saturdays.

Carl was a member of the Masonic Lodge in Pinckneyville, and the Consistory and Ansar Shrine in Springfield. He was active in the Springfield Shrine Retirees and High Twelve after retiring from teaching. He also took up golf for a few years. He was a member of the Mature Mob at Senior Center and participated in musical productions for at least 15 years beginning in the year 2000. He also served on the Mature Mob board for 10 years and appeared in several Municipal Opera productions in the 50's and 60's.

He is survived by his brother Harry (wife Marilyn) Birkner of Colorado Springs, CO; his sister Opal Marie Long of St. Louis, MO; and many nieces and nephews.

Besides his parents, he was preceded in death by 5 brothers, Clarence William, Russell Leroy, Orville Edward, Clyde Elmer, and Richard Eugene; and 3 sisters, Wilma Elizabeth, Ina Irene, and Verna Mae.

Local arrangements are under the direction of Bisch Funeral Home West, Springfield. Per his wishes, cremation rites were accorded. A memorial service will be held on Friday, Feb. 2, 2018 at 11 am at St. Paul United Church of Christ in Pinckneyville, IL. A visitation will be held from 10 am until time of the memorial service at 11 am at the church. Inurnment will follow at Mueller Hill Cemetery, Pinckneyville, IL.

Memorials may be made to Senior Services of Central Illinois.

Please visit the online obituary at www.bischfuneralhomewest.com where tributes and condolences may be left for the family.