Gary Hirschi

Oct. 15, 1937 €“ Feb. 25, 2009

Gary V. Hirschi, 71, died Feb. 25, 2009 after a hard-fought, though brief (three-week), battle with lung cancer with his family at his side.

He was born Oct. 15, 1937 to William David Hirschi and Mina Winifred Coulter in Lebanon. He attended Sunnyside Grade School and graduated from Sweet Home High School in 1955. Following high school, He attended Oregon State College and worked at various jobs until 1958 when he started his 35-year career with the U.S. Forest Service at the Ranger Station in Cascadia.

Mr. Hirschi took a three-month leave from the forest service in 1959 to motor scooter through Europe with a friend, a highlight of his life of which he spoke often and fondly.

On Sept. 19, 1959, he married local girl Jane Anne Holcomb of Foster, with whom he shared the rest of his life. He took a break from the Forest Service between 1960 and 1962 to do a tour in the Army. In 1962, while stationed at Fort Lewis, the Hirschis’ daughter April was born.

Following the Army the family returned to Sweet Home and the Forest Service. Daughter Hope was born in 1964, and son William (Bill) in 1968. The Hirschis made two more stops with the Forest Service, at the Lewis River Ranger Station on the Gifford Pinchot National Forest and then the Quilcene Ranger Station on the Olympic National Forest, where Gary retired as a district engineer.

After completing his career with the forest service in 1993, the Hirschis moved on to the joys of retirement. They enjoyed traveling, whether it be with their RV group (the OK Sams) for overnighters, or long trips and cruises.

With their usual gang of traveling buddies, they traveled to Mexico, Australia, New Zealand, Yellowknife in the Yukon, and cruised through the Baltics, to Alaska, and most recently the Panama Canal.

Mr. Hirschi’s favorite trips, though, were taking his grandchildren on weekends in the motor home, and if the parents could come that was OK too.

Throughout his life he had many interests and participated in the community. He was a member of the Quilcene Volunteer Fire Department for 20 years and received a number of awards. He was also a school board member in Quilcene for 12 years. He always enjoyed trying out new hobbies, such as wine and beer making, where a typical compliment was “that’s not too bad.”

Mr. Hirschi was also an avid hunter and fisherman and especially enjoyed the comraderie. He had a level head and gave sound, thoughtful advice if asked. He would always drop everything to help if anyone needed a hand. He loved his family very much and was devoted to his wife of 50 years.

Mr. Hirschi is survived by his wife Jane Anne; daughters April and son-in-law Rod Ronquillo, and Hope and son-in-law Max Wills; son Bill; his four grandchildren; mother Mina Hirschi; sisters Carolee and brother-in-law Buck Merritt, and Sherral and brother-in-law Tom Tucker; and brother Steve and sister-in-law Donna Hirschi, along with many aunts, uncles and cousins.

He was preceded in death by his father William David Hirschi.

A viewing will be held from 4 to 7 p.m. Friday, March 6, at the Sweet Home Funeral Chapel, 1443 Long St. A funeral service will be held at 2 p.m. on Saturday, March 7, at the Sweet Home Evangelical Church adjacent to the funeral home.

Remembrances in lieu of flowers can be made to: Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center J5-200, P.O. Box 19024, Seattle, WA, 98109. Please specify that your gift is for lung cancer research.

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