World War II veteran Robert M. Kirsch passed away peacefully at the Tuff Memorial Home in Hills on Monday, March 28, 2016, at 91 years of age. Family visitation will be Friday, April 1, at Jurrens Funeral Home in Hills from 4-8 p.m. A memorial service was held at Bethlehem Lutheran Church on Saturday, April 2, 2016, at 11 a.m. Private family interment with full military honors will take place before the memorial service.
Robert Maurice Kirsch was born October 14, 1924, to Adolph and Amanda (Hagen) Kirsch at their home in Hills, Minnesota. He was raised and educated in Hills, graduating from Hills High School in 1942.
In February 1943 he enlisted in the U.S. Army. He went through basic training at Camp Wallace, Texas, and radio school in Kansas City, Missouri. After being stationed stateside in Texas and Oklahoma, he was deployed to Manila, Philippines, near the end of World War II. His duties included guarding a motor pool and when his unit was deactivated he was sent south of Manila to guard Japanese prisoners of war. He was honorably discharged in March 1946 and returned to Hills. Following his discharge he worked for the Great Northern Railroad and Minneapolis Gas Company. His life’s work as an electrician began at McClure Electric in Luverne and he worked as a journeyman electrician and plumber for Nuffer Hardware in Hills from 1948 to 1968. From 1968 until his retirement in 1986, Bob worked for Interstate Power Company in Hills and Heron Lake as a lineman and service rep. Upon retirement Bob and Twila moved to Sioux Falls and then back to Hills in 1991.
Robert married Betty Jane Block on February 8, 1948. To this union five children were born. Betty died in 1959 at the early age of 30. For the next 8 years Bob raised his five children with the help of the Block family, the Hagen family and the village of Hills. On June 17, 1967, Bob married Twila (Kraetsch) Jauert and adopted her two daughters. Bob always felt blessed to have found the love of his life, Twila.
Bob was a lifelong member of Bethlehem Lutheran Church, having served on the church council and cemetery board. He was a member of the American Legion Post 399 for 71 years. As an active member of the Hills community, Bob had served with the Hills Fire Department, the Hills City Council and as mayor of Hills for a short time. He was always proud of his Norwegian heritage and every May 17th he would observe Syttende Mai (Norwegian Constitution Day) by proudly flying his Norwegian Flag.
Bob took up golf in his retirement and enjoyed that activity with his wife and friends for many years. During the winter months, Bob and Twila enjoyed the warmer weather of southern Texas for a number of years. They enjoyed traveling to many parts of the US and Mexico visiting family, their children, grandchildren and friends.
He is survived by his wife of nearly 49 years, Twila, his four daughters, Barbara (Ron) Koch, Bismarck, North Dakota; Becky (John) Fallenstein, Rosarita, Mexico; Debra (Luke) Mathias, Starbuck; Cynthia Kirsch Pohlman, Hills; and two sons, Brian Kirsch, Sioux Falls, South Dakota; Barry (Jane) Kirsch, Riverside, Iowa. He was a loving grandpa to 18 grandchildren and 17 (soon to be 18) great-grandchildren.
Robert was preceded in death by his first wife, Betty Jane; his son, Robert Mark, his parents, Adolph and Amanda, his only brother, Jean Paul and an infant sister, Berniece Mary.
In lieu of flowers, the family requests memorials be given to Bethlehem Lutheran Church or the Tuff Memorial Home in Hills, Minnesota.