Cover photo for Richard Hirtzel's Obituary
1929 Richard 2022

Richard Hirtzel

February 1, 1929 — January 18, 2022

Richard Dale Hirtzel, 92, passed away on January 18, 2022, in Provo, Utah.

Richard was born in Chicago, Illinois on February 1, 1929, to Frederich Edward Hirtzel and Sarah Ferne Swank.  During his youngest years he lived in Effingham, Illinois.  After the death of his father, his mother and siblings moved to North Hollywood, CA, where Richard attended high school.  He graduated in 1947 and loved to play basketball and excelled in track and field.

In 1950, Richard was drafted into the US Army, attended Officer Candidate School (OCS), and was commissioned as a 2nd Lieutenant.  He was assigned to posts in New Jersey and back in California.

During high school and during his time in the Army, Richard met many members of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.  They taught him the Gospel of Jesus Christ, and he joined the Church in September 1952.  Soon after his baptism, he was ordered to the Korean Conflict.  He was assigned to the Army Signal Corp where he set up and maintained radio relay stations during his tour of duty.  After the war, Richard continued his military career and retired as a Colonel (O6) in the US Army Reserves.

Richard earned bachelors and master’s degrees from Brigham Young University.  He completed a PhD in Political Science at the University of Utah.  While studying at the University of Utah, Richard met and married Connie Kay Olsen on October 16, 1964, in the Salt Lake Temple.

Upon graduation, Richard began teaching Political Science at Winona State University in Minnesota.  He soon desired to return to Illinois and accepted a teaching position at Western Illinois University where he taught international relations and US government courses for 23 years.  He retired from WIU in May 1991.  After retirement, Richard and Connie moved back to Utah to care for Connie’s aging parents and to be around family.  They build a home in Pleasant Grove, Utah, where they made many new friends.

Richard had a great passion for family history.  He enjoyed researching and learning about those who came before him, and equally enjoyed performing temple work for them. Richard enjoyed every opportunity to serve in the church.  During his time in Illinois, he served in two mission presidencies as well as a counselor in the stake presidency where he helped organize the Nauvoo Illinois Stake. He thoroughly enjoyed his time serving as a Church Service Missionary at the American Fork family history library.

Richard is survived by his eternal companion, Connie Kay Hirtzel; their children Thomas (Tamara) Hirtzel, Lori (Ted) Cano, Tammie Hirtzel, Carrie (Mike) Turnquist; 13 grandchildren, and 6 great-grandchildren.

Richard is preceded in death by his parents, Frederick Edward Hirtzel and Sarah Ferne Swank; siblings Fae Eileen Meyers and Robert Eugene Hirtzel, and a grandson.

The service for Richard Hirtzel will be held on Monday, January 24, 2022, at 11:00 AM at Anderson and Sons Mortuary, American Fork, Utah, 49 East 100 North. A viewing will be held the same day from 10 AM to 10:45 AM prior to the service.  Burial will occur at the Brigham City Cemetery, 300 E 300 S, Brigham City, UT 84302.

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