On Christmas Eve, December 24, 2018, Theodore Herbert “Ted” Hirsch joined his beloved wife, Ruthie, in heaven. Christmas Eve was their most joyful holiday to the very end of this life. During the time after his stroke on Friday, Ted was surrounded by his children, their spouses and many grandchildren.
Ted was 97 years old, having celebrated his birthday with family and friends at the Residential Living on Monday. His son Les and daughter Gail played music and Ted strummed his guitar and sang along.
Ted was born to Jacob and Annie (Redman) Hirsch at the family home near Rock Springs, Montana on December 17, 1921. He was the sixth child in a family of ten children living in a small cabin during very hard times. They were a close family and enjoyed and loved each other all their lives.
German was spoken at home so attending the East Uall School (riding horseback or walking to get there) must have been difficult the first few years. Because there was much work to be done at home, Ted wasn’t afforded a formal education, but he never stopped learning or reading or solving problems. Years later, education was so important to him he made sure his kids had high school and college educations at Miles Community College and Montana State.
When Ted was 17 years old, after years of struggle with the drought, grasshoppers and bad winters, his family moved to an irrigated farm in the Yellowstone Valley where they raised beets, grain and hay. In the wintertime, Ted worked for the John Herzog dairy.
During these years, Ted met Ruthie Toennis, the pretty girl down the road and waited for her to graduate from high school. After getting the crop in, they were married November 10, 1945 at the Sacred Heart Church in Miles City.
Ted farmed with his father three more years then moved his family in 1948 to the SH Ranch on Tongue River where he leased land from Ed Love. Things weren’t easy, there was no electricity, no running water and bad roads but Mom and Dad made a beautiful childhood for us kids. We learned the dignity of hard work, being kind to each other and your neighbors and had a lot of fun along the way. There was no school so Ted arranged to have SH School moved in and he served on the board for years.
In 1963, the family moved to the ranch on Moon Creek formerly owned by Emil Olander and later Ed Love. Ted was an excellent farmer, raised premium cattle and spent time in community service. He served on FHA, ASCS boards both county and state, and was a Custer County Commissioner. He was a good neighbor, always the first to a fire in the summer and the first to plow out roads in the winter or whatever else was needed. In 2002, Ted was chosen Ag Person of the Year by the Chamber of Commerce. He was a good steward of the land. He treated it with knowledge and respect and in return his farms and ranches always flourished.
Over the years, Ted appreciated the ranch help he received from family, many loyal ranch hands and especially that of Todd and Pam Vaughn, Rick Abbott and Ron McPherson and their families. Ted practiced his Christianity in every day life. He was humble, didn’t criticize others, had a deep respect for all was generous and had a quiet grace about him.
Ted enjoyed family, farming, dancing with Ruthie, going to the 600 Café, visiting and music. When Les was elected to the legislature and was gone, Ted stepped in to help play in Les and Gail’s band for dances they had booked. Ted was very good playing in the band. This family has been so blessed to have this remarkable man in their lives.
Ted is survived by his two sons, Wayne (Traci) Hirsch of Billings and Les (Donna) Hirsch of Tongue River; three daughters, Pansy (Bill) Jones, south of Miles City, Diane (John) Jones of Moon Creek and Gail (Kyle) Shaw of Tongue River; one brother Elmer Hirsch of Billings; two sisters, Gertie Fisher of Miles City and Ruby Fields of Seattle, WA; sister-in-law, Eunice Hirsch of Miles City; brother and sisters-in-law, Pat and Aggie Toennis of Miles City and Dorothy Toennis of Phoenix, AZ and many wonderful nieces and nephews. Ted is also survived by seventeen grandchildren: Corey (Janette) Jones, Marcie (Jim) Niebur, Ryan (Nicole) Jones, Reed (Shannon) Jones, Lori (Tim) Blaede, Sara Hirsch, Heidi (Curtis) Hirsch-Obie, Ty (Val) Jones, Stacey (Leal) Brimmer, Sydney (Adam) Dice, Kyla (Josh) Sanders, Jay (Edyna) Shaw, Kristi (Cedar) Jeffers, Jamie (Barbara) Coston-Hirsch, Darrell (Jodie) Hirsch, Nathan Hirsch and Heather Hirsch. Ted was very proud of his grandchildren, their spouses and his 35 great grandchildren and their accomplishments. Those who have preceded Ted in death are his wife, Ruth, of 64 years in 2009, his parents, his brothers, Edwin and Alfred, and sisters, Edna, Hilda, Martha and Ruth.
Family will receive friends on Friday, January 4, 2019 from 4:00-6:00 p.m. at Stevenson & Sons Funeral Home in Miles City. Funeral services will be held on Saturday, January 5, 2019 at 11:00 a.m. at Grace Bible Church in Miles City. Interment will follow in the Custer County Cemetery. Condolences may be sent to the family by visiting: www.stevensonandsons.com.
Should friends desire, memorials may be made to the Friends of the Fairgrounds Event Center, Range Riders Museum, 4-H Council or to the charity of one’s choice.