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1923 John 2016

John Wirtz

June 3, 1923 — February 10, 2016

John Wirtz, age 92, passed away on February 10, 2016, at Marian Manor in Glen Ullin, ND surrounded by his family. Visitation will begin at 3:00 pm on Monday, February 15, 2016, at Buehler-Larson Funeral Home in Mandan with a Remembrance Service beginning at 4:00 pm. Internment will take place at the North Dakota Veterans Cemetery at 3:00 pm on Tuesday, February 16, 2016.

John was born on June 3, 1923, in Mandan to Steve and Elizabeth (Bobb) Wirtz. He enlisted in the U.S. Army on March 12, 1943, and served as a platoon sergeant in the Pacific Theater during WWII. He was assigned to Company E-32 Infantry Regiment, 2nd Battalion, 7th Infantry Division and was engaged in battles on the islands of Kwajalein, Leyte, Luzon, and Okinawa where he received the Expert Infantryman Badge, Purple Heart, and the Bronze Star medal for heroic action on Skyline Ridge. Though severely wounded at the end of fighting on Okinawa, he refused to be sent stateside and instead traveled with his Division to Korea to help with the disarmament of the Japanese forces located there.

John married Colleen (Hermanson) Wirtz on August 12, 1947, and together they raised two sons, Wayne and Tom, in their home in Mandan. John worked for the Montana Dakota Utilities company for 37 years, retiring from his position as Superintendent of MDU’s R.M.Heskett Electric Generation Station, located North of Mandan, in January 1985.

John loved to hunt, fish, garden, travel and spend time visiting with friends and family. He was a very generous man and was often helping others with general fix-it, electrical or automotive problems. Next to his love for his wife Colleen, his greatest joys in life were his sons, grandson, and three great grandchildren. He was always quick to share stories of their accomplishments and to show off their pictures, as he beamed with pride.

He is survived by his two sons, Dr. Wayne Wirtz and his partner, Richard (Topps), Chicago, IL; Tom Wirtz and his wife, Lupe (Godoy), Bismarck; his grandson, Stephen Wirtz and his wife, Katie (Dinneen) and their children, Nora, Callum, and Declan, Bismarck; along with many special nieces, nephews, and extended family members from both the Wirtz and Hermanson sides of the family. John’s memory will live on in all of their hearts.

John was preceded in death by his parents, Steve and Elizabeth; his sister, Virginia Ohm; his brother, Clem; and his wife, Colleen (Hermanson) Wirtz.

Memorials are preferred to March of Dimes or St. Judes Children’s Hospital.

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