Birrell Birrell Hirschi
Birrell Birrell Hirschi
  • November 2, 1928 - January 12, 2018
  • Utah

Share This Obituary

Birrell "Elvias" Hirschi, 89, passed away peacefully at his home, surrounded by loved ones, on January 12, 2018, following a valiant battle with pancreatic cancer.

Birrell was born November 2, 1928 in Rockville, Utah to Dewey and Fern Stratton Hirschi. He was raised in Rockville and attended Hurricane High School.

At age 19, Birrell, along with many of his classmates, entered the Korean War. He served with honor in the 213th Army Battalion from 1947-1951, achieving the rank of Sergeant First Class. Despite facing heavy enemy fire, all 600 original Southern Utah soldiers from his unit miraculously returned home alive. Their experience is detailed in the award-winning documentary: Miracle at KapYong: The Story of the 213th. Birrell was very patriotic all his life and served as Post Commander at the American Legion in Fillmore for several years.

After the war, Birrell attended Utah State University where he earned a B.S. in Watershed Management. Birrell and his sweetheart Marie Workman were married on June 13, 1953 in the St. George LDS temple and soon welcomed six children into their home.

Birrell is survived by his wife Marie, daughters Ginger Nelson (Blaine), Cheri McPhie (Doug), Anita Sorensen (Steven), Katrina Little (David); and son Leslie Hirschi (Virlene). He also leaves behind 5 siblings, 17 grandchildren and 38 great-grandchildren. Birrell was preceded in death by his parents Dewey and Fern, his brother Tren, his daughter, Debra, and a great-grandson, Magnus Nelson.

Birrell was a lifelong member of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints. He served faithfully in many positions, including High Councilman and first counselor to four bishops and a branch president. Birrell was an avid genealogist who researched and submitted hundreds of names for temple work. He and his wife, Marie, worked many years in the temple and also served four missions for the LDS Church.

Birrell was a man of many talents and interests. He worked for the Bureau of Land Management for 33 years in a number of capacities, from Surface Protection Specialist to Fire Range Manager. He also he worked as an on-call EMT for the Fire Department in Fillmore, Utah for over eight years.

Birrell was an expert builder and handyman. He built several of his own homes and assisted family and friends with building and many home improvement tasks. He was industrious and active his entire life. Neighbors were often amazed to spot Birrell (in his 80s) straddling a tree branch to do some trimming.

In his free time, Birrell liked to hunt, fish, and pitch horseshoes. Over the past five years, he won many awards as a member of the Northern Utah Horseshoe Pitching Association. He also enjoyed traveling and was noted as the oldest zip-liner on a recent family adventure to Cabo San Lucas, Mexico.

Above all, Birrell had an extraordinary love for his family, who loved him deeply in return. He especially enjoyed cradling each new child tenderly in his arms. Birrell's greatest desire in life was to help and serve others, which he did faithfully to the very end of his life.

Gatherings to honor Birrell include a viewing on Friday, January 19, from 6 to 8 p.m. at Valley View Funeral Home, 4335 West 4100 South, West Valley City, UT. His funeral will be held Saturday January 20, 2018, at 11:00 am in the LDS chapel at 2400 East Alta Canyon Road (8600 S.) in Sandy, UT, with a gathering prior from 9:30 to 10:30. Interment will be at Valley View Cemetery.