Obituary (Gertrude) Dee Hayes Birkrem

Gertrude “Dee” Hayes Birkrem was born in Gorham, N.H. on Aug. 12, 1927; she died after a brief illness on Sept. 5, 2019.

She and her husband Alf B. Birkrem moved to Canaan in 1986 when he retired.

While in Canaan she was active in the local Senior Center, with Poets and Authors Trying Harder (PATH), the Bird & Garden Club, and until recently enjoyed watercolor painting.

She grew up in the Great Depression and World War II but not in a depressed family.

She remembered lots of laughter and hoped that surviving family members do too. It seemed they always found something to laugh about no matter how hard times got.

She was the family clown and enjoyed the role. Some people may remember that she literally played the clown for several years in Canaan parades.

One of her brothers says he looked up to her for her wit & her smarts. She didn’t always appreciate that, but it was true. She graduated from Gorham High School at age 17.

She is survived by her children John Birkrem and Nancy Birkrem and her “virtual daughter” Melissa Howard.

She was predeceased by six siblings and her husband (whom she married in 1953).

She is survived by eight siblings: Milly Brault, Bunny Shuman, Connie Springer, Manny Landry, Calvin Hayes, Lois Dionne, Stephen Hayes & Grace Lemay; dozens of nieces and nephews and their children and grandchildren.

She was a past Master of the Indian River Grange; one of many active Grangers in her family. She was a member of the Old Hutman’s Association and an avid reader and Scrabble® player.

In lieu of flowers, contributions may be made to the Canaan Public Library or to the Bernie Sanders presidential campaign. #Donald Trump, the horse’s rump.

There will be no funeral; a family memorial service will be held at a later date.

An online guest book is available to leave a message of condolence by going to

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