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Ronald Allen Hirt passed away on Sunday, November 22, 2020.  Our Dad was born in Grand Rapids on January 7, 1932, one day after his mother’s birthday, to Christian Paulus & Marinda Bell (Boals) Hirt.  His wife of 66 years, our mom, Marjorie Louise passed away on November 27, 2020.  She was born in Grand Rapids on Fathers’ Day, June 18, 1933 to Chester Arthur & Merna Jane (Witter) Borden.

They are survived by their sons and their families, Michael & Marsha (Jenny) Thomas & Nancy (John & Sarah) Richard & Susan (Randy & Stacey, Laura & Dustin & Nate) . Several beloved great grandchildren.  Also survived by Ron’s brother & sister, Bob Hirt & Marjorie (Midge) Leale.  Marj’s sister & brother-in-law, Sally & Gary VandenElst and many nieces & nephews that were so dear to them.  Ron was preceded in death by his parents, brothers and sisters-in-law, Al & Joann Butler, Ken Hirt, PFC Bill L Hirt (KIA WWII), Doyle & Ethel Hirt, Paul (Lt Co USMC Ret) & Patty Hirt, June Hirt and brother-in-law Vince Leale.  Marj’s parents and her brother Thomas Borden preceded her death. Also nieces & nephews Barb Delano & Ken Butler, Cindy Chertos, Bill & Dennis Hirt and Mark VandenElst.

Ron & Marj were high school sweethearts graduating in 1951 from South High School.  They were very active in high school. Ron played football and boxed when his trainer, Wes Ramey signed him up for the Grand Rapids Press Golden Gloves Tournament at age 16 He was a co-champion for two years in his weight class. Marj was voted most mischievous in her class and participated in many clubs and organization with her friends.  Many lifelong friendships were formed with their classmates.

Ron joined the Marines shortly after graduating from high school following his brothers in service to our country. Marj worked at Steelcase in the secretary pool.  They even used her to try out a chair to see how someone with her small stature would fit (she was under 5ft tall).

Ron & Marj were married on January 1, 1954 in Grand Rapids.  They started their new life as a military family. Their son Michael was born in Grand Rapids in December of 1954 while Ron was stationed in California. The family went to Camp Lejeune NC where their second son Thomas was born in June of 1956 and their third son Richard was born in December of 1959. Before Ric was born the family was back out west for a short time.  They eventually came back to Camp Lejeune settling into a small two-bedroom trailer raising three little boys.  Ron continued to box becoming a professional boxer. At one time he was ranked 11th in the world in his weight class. Marj and the boys came home to Grand Rapids when Ron was sent to Okinawa for a year. After 11 ½ years and having attained the rank of Staff Sargent he was discharged after a distinguished career with numerous awards from the Marine Corps.  Then had seven years of non-military obligation except for working as a Parent Adviser for the ‘Young Marines’ with his three boys who were ‘willingly drafted into service’.  After a few years living in Grand Rapids they eventually settled in Jenison buying the house next door to Doyle & Ethel. And they stayed at this home until their passing.

To earn his pension Ron joined the Naval Reserve in 1970.  He went in as a steelworker with the SeeBees.  Marj was able to join him on some of his 2-week active duty assignments.  In 1989 his last duty assignment was Hawaii and she was able to accompany him as he finished his 30-year career in the military. He retired as a Chief Petty Officer later that year.

They were also active in the Shrine.  Ron was a 32nd Degree Mason and Marj was active in the Eastern Star and the Daughters of the Nile. They volunteered at the Shrine Circus (Ron was a clown). Ron also volunteered his time to drive children to the Shriners’ Hospital in Chicago.

After leaving the Marines Ron went to Davenport College and worked part time at the Elbow Room, bartending, with Marj waitressing. He also worked as a welder, and in manufacturing.  He retired from Haworth in 1994.  Marj worked as an executive secretary for Daverman Associates in the 60’s. She worked at Holly’s and was a bookkeeper for various doctor offices in the area.  She retired from Diocesans Publications in 1998.

After retirement they travelled, volunteered their time at the Shrine and joined the Y. Our mom loved to shop always looking for a bargain and she had a talent for growing flowers and gardening. They were regulars at the Big Boy in Grandville. They were thought of as family and the feelings were mutual.

The last few years were a struggle for them with Ron’s health failing.  The last several weeks were especially hard for Marj but she took care of her beloved Ron till he passed away on Sunday the 22nd.  Little did we know our mom would pass on Friday the 27th.  Our beloved parents will be missed but we take comfort in knowing they are safe in the arms of Jesus.  Eternal rest grant unto them O’ Lord, and Let perpetual Light shine upon them.  May they rest in peace.   Rest easy Mom and Dad.  Semper Fi

Memorial services for Ron & Marj will be held at 1:00 p.m. on Saturday, September 18, 2021 at Holy Spirit Episcopal Church, 1200 Post Drive N.E., Belmont.  Following the memorial ceremony, Masonic services for Ron will be held at 3:00 p.m. on Saturday, September 18, 2021 at the Grand Rapids Masonic Temple, 233 E. Fulton Street, Grand Rapids, with military honors rendered by the Kent County Veterans Honor Guard.  A time of food and fellowship will follow.  Final interment will be at Fort Custer National Cemetery, Augusta.

In memory of Ron and Marj contributions can be made to the Shriners Hospital for Children in Chicago.  The family would like thank The Laurels of Hudsonville for their compassionate care of Ron last couple years and appreciation to the staff at Metro Health and Faith Hospice for the care our parents received.

To send a message of sympathy to the family, sign Ron & Marj’s online guest book, or to share a favorite memory, please visit:  Cremation arrangements are entrusted to Michigan Cremation & Funeral Care, Grand Rapids, (616) 452-3006, exclusive providers of Veterans Funeral Care.


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5 Condolences

  1. Dawn Brandes on December 4, 2020 at 10:58 pm

    Ron and Marj are some of the nicest people I have ever met. They will be dearly missed by all of us at Russ’ Restaurant. Almost every time your parents came to Russ’ your dad would have a little pill bag with freshly shined pennies in it for my 6 year old. My daughter’s face would light up when I would get home from work and say guess who I saw tonight? They will be tremendously missed!

  2. Ron Hessman on December 5, 2020 at 6:32 pm

    Really a great couple. I first meet them through Ron’s participation in DeMolai Commandery No. Knights Templar of Grand Rapids. In 2012 I was Commander and Ron was one of my Sir Knight Guards. We trained together in proper holding and use of sword for our different activities including marching in public. We had dinners for the whole group at times end of the month meeting at a local restaurant where wifes would also join and me meeting Marj and she joined many of our masonic social events. The whole body of masonry just cannot say enough about the lost of these two wonderful souls. As Recorder for Knight Templar and Secretary for Ron’s home lodge, we interacted so much as well as Marj contacting me when he was having health problems. They both will so be sadly missed, but yet leave us with such positive memories of their love and friendship it was so rewarding to know them they will forever be in our hearts and role models to be. His Lodge photo from 1996

  3. Michelle Flokstra on December 5, 2020 at 9:05 pm

    These two would come to the Grandville
    Farmers Market on Tuesdays and get green tomatoes apparently he loved them♥️I didnt know their name or that he worked at Steelcase which is where i worked also for 25 years . So sorry for your families loss.
    Michelle Flokstra

  4. Karen Plough on December 6, 2020 at 8:12 am

    I waited on these two wonderful people for several years at Perkins restaurant and Steak-n-Shake. They were friendly, kind and generous always. I was shocked to see their picture on my local news, passing away 5 days apart. Thinking about it, I’m not surprised..they were always together and always happy. I’m thankful they were a part of my daily life. I know they are together now and happy still.

  5. Dorace Buttone Bethke on December 9, 2020 at 8:12 pm

    I will always remember talking with both of them at our South High School reunions. They were a wonderful “couple” and always took care of each other.

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