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Jim Wirth

Jim Wirth, 80 of Hollister, Missouri.

The soul of Jim Wirth, 80 of Hollister, Missouri, entered into eternity on March 24, 2024.  Born James Bernard Wirth on May 17, 1943 in Mt. Carmel, Illinois, he was the beloved son of Bernard Andrew Wirth and Pauline Mary (Baumgart) Wirth.  Jim was raised on his family’s farm in Southern Illinois along with his four brothers.  He grew up not only helping on the farm but was also active in sports, church and 4-H.

Jim attended seminary high school and junior college at St. Henry’s in Belleville, IL.  He went on to St. Meinrad College where he majored in Philosophy and English and earned a Master of Divinity degree in theology at St. Meinrad Theology.  He spent a semester at Loyola University in Chicago deciding what path he wanted to pursue and decided on Northern Illinois University where he earned a Master’s degree in sociology and education.  He became an educator, teaching both sixth grade and part-time at colleges around Chicago.  While teaching, he worked on his PhD in sociology at Loyola University and graduated with his doctorate degree in 1978.  Jim taught full-time for 42 years.  He spent 19 years at College of the Ozarks and then undertook what he called his “dream job”, working 20 years with the University of Missouri Extension as their Human Development Specialist.  After retiring, he continued teaching part-time with Columbia College in Springfield, OTC, and Missouri State University.

In 1969, Jim’s friends set him up on a blind date with a first-grade teacher, Shirley Elsner.  On July 24, 1971 the two were married in La Grange Park, IL.  Jim referred to Shirley as his best friend and joy in life.  They enjoyed young married life going to dances and parties before the blessing of their three children, Jonathan, Kara and David.  Jim was a loving husband and father. He enjoyed being part of his kid’s activities, especially the sports they were involved in.  They traveled as a family seeing much of the United States.  Jim had visited all lower 48 states, Europe and Mexico.

Jim had a great love for his community.  He served on various boards including the Hollister School Board and always aimed to make a positive impact.

Jim’s life was permeated by his belief in the Christian principle of love and its application. He strove to live out his Christian values through prayer, reflection and awareness of God’s love, having compassion and kindness, sharing his faith and living out works of charity and social justice. He was active with Our Lady of the Lake Catholic Church and especially enjoyed teaching adult Catholic Christian weekly education there with Shirley.  His life reflected his practice of adhering to his favorite scripture, Micah 6:8, “Yahweh asks only this: To act with justice, to love tenderly and to walk humbly with our God.”

Jim will be deeply missed by the family he was so grateful for and proud of: his wife, Shirley Wirth of Hollister; children, Jonathan Wirth (Katie) of St. Louis, MO, Kara Palermo (Michael) of Kansas City, MO and David Wirth (Sarah) of Chicago, IL; grandchildren, Sharon Wirth, Mallory Wirth, Ryker Palermo, Henry Wirth and Evelyn Wirth; and his brother Lee Wirth (Donna) of IL. He was preceded in death by his parents, Bernard and Pauline; his four-year old sister, Norma Jean Wirth; and brothers, Jerry, Tom and Paul Wirth.

Jim had said, “I would like to be remembered for trying to follow the ideals of living in love, justice, truth and mercy and applying those values in relationships, family, work and community.”

His life will be celebrated on Saturday, April 20, 2024 at Our Lady of the Lake Catholic Church in Branson, MO.  Visitation at the church will be held at 10am with a funeral mass at 11am. A luncheon will be held after the funeral mass. Interment will be at Ozarks Memorial Park Cemetery in Branson under the direction of Snapp-Bearden Funeral Home & Crematory, Branson.

In lieu of flowers, please consider donating to Catholic Relief Services or Siteman Cancer Center

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