James R. Birkner

November 6, 1949 ~ November 27, 2020 (age 71)


James R. Birkner, 71, of South Bend passed away unexpectedly at Memorial Hospital on Friday, November 27, 2020. He was born November 6, 1949 in Mount Vernon, IL to the late Oliver and Alice S. (Peyton) Birkner. On November 9, 1985 in Dowagiac, MI, James married his loving wife, Judy (Deka) Birkner, who survives.

Also surviving are his daughters, Kim Brockie and Jennifer (Mark) Gallaher; sons, Jeff (Kay) Birkner and Travis Andrews; thirteen grandchildren; four great-grandchildren; and brother, Wayne (Olga) Birkner. In addition to his parents, he is preceded in death by his sister, Janette Peevey.

James was a supervisor for General Mills before retiring in 1993. He was a Den Master for the Cub Scouts for the past five years. James was the most reliable person, and would do anything for anyone whenever they needed a hand. James enjoyed spending time with his family, who always came first in his life.  With a profound sorrow, we lay to rest a man who meant so much to each of us. No matter what roll he played in our lives-husband, dad, son, brother, grandpa, uncle, volunteer, coach, teacher or friend, he ALWAYS made a difference in all the lives he touched.  He was our rock that weathered every storm, he was the logic that made us stop and think, he was our staunchest supporter and biggest fan. He encouraged and enabled all of us to do our best and follow our dreams. He let us fall and learn, but was always there to pick us up and dust us off to try again another day. He was our everything and will be missed every minute of everyday.  Until we meet again. 

Visitation for James will be held on Thursday, December 3, 2020 from 4-7 PM at Palmer Funeral Home-River Park Chapel, 2528 Mishawaka Ave., South Bend, IN 46615. A funeral service will be held on Friday, December 4, 2020 at 11: AM at the funeral home.  Private family burial will follow at St. Joseph Valley Memorial Park.

In lieu of flowers, the family asks that donations be given to his beloved Cub Scouts Pack 364, Attn: Den Master, 60110 Carroll St., South Bend, IN 46614.

Online condolences can be sent to the Birkner family at

To send flowers to the family or plant a tree in memory of James R. Birkner, please visit our floral store.


December 3, 2020

4:00 PM to 7:00 PM
Palmer Funeral Home - River Park
2528 Mishawaka Avenue
South Bend, IN 46615

Funeral Service
December 4, 2020

11:00 AM
Palmer Funeral Home - River Park
2528 Mishawaka Avenue
South Bend, IN 46615

Private Interment

St. Joseph Valley Memorial Park
375 W. Cleveland Road
Granger, IN 46530

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