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1923 Elsie 2013

Elsie B. Zirbel

February 11, 1923 — January 29, 2013

Elsie B. Zirbel, age 89, of Grants Pass, died Tuesday, January 29, 2013 at Highland House Nursing & Rehabilitation Center.

A memorial service will be at 4:00 p.m., Saturday, February 2, 2013 at Hull & Hull Funeral Directors. Private interment will be in the Selby, South Dakota Cemetery.

Memorial donations may be made to Lovejoy Hospice, 939 SE 8th Street, Grants Pass, OR 97526.

Please sign the family guest book at

Elsie was born on February 11, 1923 in Artas, South Dakota and was raised on a farm. Since most of her growing up years were during the depression of the 1930s, social activities were limited to school, church, visiting family and neighbors and sports activities. After high school, she attended Northern State University in Aberdeen, South Dakota from which she received a Teaching Certificate. In 1943 she moved to Turlock, California when her sister living there was expecting her first child. She went to work for Day and Night Flare Corporation (later Chemurgic Corporation) whose product was building Napalm Bombs for World War II. In this position she supervised 65 inspectors on three shifts inspecting assembly line production and was also in charge of the chemical laboratory testing the chemicals used in bomb construction to assure they met specifications and testing bomb samples for accuracy of function. At war’s end she moved to Montevideo, Minnesota and was employed by Northern States Power Company as cashier and bookkeeper. In 1951 she and her husband moved to Anchorage, Alaska where she went to work for the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, Alaska District starting as a cost accounting clerk and working her way up the ladder to budget officer from which she retired on June 30, 1973. In this position she was in charge of federal funds for three Army bases, two Air Force bases and Civil Works projects such as dams, small boat harbors, jetties, breakwaters, etc within the State of Alaska. One of the major projects was the re-building of all the damage after the 8.4 earthquake of 1964. While living in Alaska, her main hobbies were hunting, fishing, boating, snow mobiling, and bowling.
In 1976 she and her husband decided to seek warmer climates since he had injured his back snow mobiling so winter play was limited and winters up there are cold and long. They purchased a home in Grants Pass, Oregon where they continued fishing, boating, and added gardening to the hobbies. Her husband Blake passed away December 25, 1989 after which she did volunteer work for RSVP (Retired Seniors Volunteer Program) settling in for seven years as Teachers Assistant for 1st grade at Redwood Elementary School. In 1998 she lost most of her eyesight, thus ending the volunteer work. She won many awards during both her professional works and her volunteer work.

Elsie was a member of the Community Concert Association and Redwood Christian Church where she taught Sunday school for ages 5 to 8 for many years. She was known by many kids in school and families of friends as “Grandma Elsie.”

Elsie was preceded in death by her husband, her mother, her stepmother, her father, one sister, and two brothers.

She is survived by two sisters, Lea Tomb of Stockton, California and Addie Baerwald of Sioux Falls, South Dakota; a brother, Cal Bohle and wife Kathy of Selby, South Dakota; a sister in law, June Holzer of Plaineview, Minnesota; and many nieces and nephews; and her dear friends Barbara and Dick Hess of Grants Pass, Oregon.

To order memorial trees or send flowers to the family in memory of Elsie B. Zirbel, please visit our flower store.


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