FISHTAIL – Gerald Robert Kirch, 94, was born, lived and died on a hill in the shadows of the Beartooth Mountains.
Gerald was born on April 13, 1923, to James Frederick and Alice (Schwenneker) Kirch, the third of eight children. Gerald passed away on Thursday, June 1, 2017.
Gerald served in the United States Army during and after WWII. He was stationed in the Pacific Theater in the Philippines and in Japan. His company of aviation engineers worked to lay the foundation for what was to become Tokyo International Airport. Gerald served his country proudly and with honor.
After his discharge, Gerald returned to the family ranch. On Nov. 13, 1949, Gerald married the love of his life, Oleafa May Hamilton. The couple celebrated 59 years of marriage before her death in 2009.
Gerald and Oleafa raised two sons on the ranch, Robert Wayne and Frederick James. The ranch expanded and thrived under the care of Gerald and Oleafa. In 2013, a centennial celebration was held on the ranch. Gerald was the proud host of over 300 guests.
Gerald was an avid pinochle player, and still a competitor at age 94.
Gerald was hard-working, humble and direct. The ranch was his business and he took care of business. Gerald still spent hours in the swather and stacking bales during haying season.
Gerald was a family man, proud of his children, grandchildren and great grandchildren.
Gerald is survived by his son, Robert (Kathy) Kirch; grandchildren Tammi (Shelby) Kirch-Burrows, Sandi Kirch and Brittany (Matt) Helm and six great-grandchildren. He is also survived by his sisters Maysel Northrup, Mildred McKittrick, Margaret Murphy and Marilyn Hart.
Gerald was preceded in death by his wife Oleafa, son Fred; brothers James F. Jr. and Norman and sister Mary Jane Holtz.
Memorial services were held Tuesday, June 6, 2017, at the Nye Community Church, burial with Military Honors in the Nye Cemetery.
Memorial may be made to the charity of your choice.