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1938 - 2022

Dale Hirz, M.D. (OR ’71)

Dale Lee Hirz, age 84, died on the afternoon of November 25th, 2022, in University Place, WA.

Dale is survived by his children, Nancy Heussman (Pete), David Hirz (Dottie), and Brian Hirz (Dina); 16 grandchildren and 3 great grandchildren; and brother, Paul Hirz (Patty).

He is preceded in death by his wife, Sharon Hirz; daughter, Kathy Hagbo; and sister, Joanne Minich.

Dale was born May 18th, 1938 in Shenandoah, Iowa, to parents Harry and Hermie Hirz. He grew up on the same family farm in Southwest Iowa where his father was raised. A one room school house was the site of his first three years of elementary school. He then attended Northboro for grades 3 -9, and Farragut High School in 1956. As money was scarce, Dale hired himself out to other farmers in order to have money for college and spending. This country upbringing taught him to work hard for what you want and that is exactly what he did when he got to college.

In 1960, Dale graduated with honors from Tarkio College in Missouri with majors in mathematics and chemistry. Dale entered the University of Iowa Medical School in 1960. While at medical school, Dale married Sharon McElroy in Sidney, Iowa, on June 25th, 1961, and they lived in a little tiny house on the University of Iowa campus. His daughters, Kathy and Nancy, were born during his time at medical school. After graduating in 1964 from the University of Iowa, the family moved to Detroit where he did a one year internship at the Wayne County Hospital.

In July of 1965, the Hirz family moved to Madigan Army Hospital because the Vietnam draft was in effect. Dale should have been drafted several years earlier but because of the Berry plan medical students could finish their internship before serving their draft time. He worked in the Adult Clinic, and in 1966 he moved to the orthopedics section, as that was his chosen specialty. Son, David, was born during their time at Madigan.

After serving two years in the military as a Medical Officer, he took his family to Rochester Minnesota in 1967 where he did a four year residency at the Mayo Clinic in orthopedic surgery. While in Minnesota, Dale and Sharon adopted another son, Brian, to love as their own.

Then in 1971, he moved his family back to the Northwest to begin his orthopedic surgery practice with an emphasis on hip and knee surgery and sports medicine in Lakewood, Washington.

With all his success and hard work, Dale never lost his love and commitment for family, friends and community. To the end he remained a good spirited county boy from Iowa. His family and friends will always remember his caring and generous heart and his sense of humor. He will truly be missed.

Donations may be sent to Caring For Kids (, Facebook: caring for kids, 253-279-9777, Email: in lieu of flowers.

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