Giles & Karen Birchum

Giles Lester “Joe” Birchum, 74, of Houston, Texas passed away Thursday, May 9, 2019 at his home. His wife, Karen Hanna Birchum, 74, of Houston, Texas passed away Sunday, June 2, 2019. Both Joe and Karen went home to be with the Lord. A celebration of life service will be held at 2 p.m., Friday, June 14 at Freund Funeral Home in Cuero, Texas. Senior Pastor Jeff Harris will be officiating.

Joe was born on June 14, 1944 in Beaumont, Texas to Giles and Lorene Birchum. He graduated from Cuero High School in 1962 and from Southwest Texas State University in 1966. Joe spent many years running the family ranch, followed by a stint as a high school educator, all while engaging in his passion for barbeque competitions on the side. He spent hours perfecting his recipes and technique, with the trophies to prove it.

Karen was born on July 29, 1945 in Jacksonville, Texas to Lottie and Mark Hanna. During her childhood, Karen lived in 32 towns due to her father’s occupation with Gulf Oil. Karen went to high school in Cuero for a few years, where she met Joe, her high school sweetheart before having to move again with her family.

Karen graduated high school at Westbury High School in 1963. She attended Southwest Texas State College and the University of Houston. Karen was a loving homemaker while her children were small and then later went on to be a successful business women for Esco Products, Inc. In addition, Karen was the President of her social sorority group, Beta Sigma Phi for many years. The women of the sorority made life-long friendships while doing many things for their community.

As fate would have it, Karen and Joe reunited later in their adulthood and married. Karen and Joe were married for 26 years. They lived in League City, Texas together and later moved to Houston, Texas upon retiring. They spent their time together at barbeque cookoffs, traveling, crafting, and enjoying family and friends. They also found themselves very busy watching their grandchildren play sports in middle and high school. Karen loved to shower her grandchildren with gifts and bring lots of baked goodies to them. Joe was just as generous with his special gumbo and briskets.

Joe is survived by his three sons, their wives and his grandchildren: Trey and Shannon Birchum of Katy, Texas and their sons Jett and Caleb, Wade Birchum of El Maton, Texas and his sons Dylan, Ryan, and Tanner, and Neal and Regina Birchum of Edmond, Oklahoma and their son Parker.

Karen is survived by her two sons, their wives and her grandchildren: Mark and Fran Jones of Dallas, Texas and their children Bryson and Brynn; and Dan and Misty Jones of Sour Lake, Texas and their children Hannah, Halle, and Danny.

Joe and Karen will deeply be missed by their family and friends.

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