Theodore Wirch, Jr. Obituary

Theodore Alexander Wirch, Jr.
Theodore Alexander Wirch, Jr.

October 27, 1937 - May 12, 2020
Born in Kulm, North Dakota
Resided in Vancouver, Washington


Beloved father, treasured brother and cherished friend, Ted passed away peacefully in the comfort of his home in Vancouver, WA. Born in 1937 in rural North Dakota, Ted spent the majority of his childhood working at the family farm in Wirch, ND caring for horses and cattle and farming large sections of land. He was the youngest of four children born to Theodore A. Wirch and Janet Keith Wirch. Ted graduated from Kulm High School in 1954, and kept in touch with his high school English teacher up until the time of his death. He proudly served in the US Navy and traveled to Japan during his service. Settling in California after service to his country, Ted worked for Aerojet General, where he took tremendous pride in manufacturing rocket components for the Gemini space program, and later became a machinist at Campbell’s Soup. It was there he met Paula Saunders, his first wife. That union produced two children, Ted III, and Justine. Later, he married Robbe Sipe; together they had one daughter, Alexis. For the past twenty years Ted lived with the love of his life, Carol Weisenborn. They met in a formal choral group performing a wide variety of musical pieces, ranging from sacred and classical music, to pop, jazz and show tunes.

Ted was never afraid to try new things, or change careers and had several business ventures during his lifetime. Always fascinated with aviation, he became a pilot and began his career crop dusting in Texas and Idaho. He ultimately joined a commercial airline as a pilot, retiring after 26 years. During his airline career, he had a unique opportunity to fly for the airline’s operation in Saudi Arabia. While overseas (1978-1980) Ted & Robbe had the opportunity to travel to destinations in Europe and Africa. His favorite stop by far was Scotland, where he was able to connect with his mother’s family.

After retiring from the airline, he mastered the skill of hot air ballooning, where he quickly built a network of friends and colleagues in the ballooning community and became an instructor and mentor to young pilots. He participated in many balloon festivals and events across the Pacific Northwest, and all over the country, most notably flying his balloon “Windpacer” in the world famous Albuquerque Balloon Fiesta for many years. Always eager to educate and work with youth, he created an educational program for beekeeping - one of his many hobbies - in Battle Ground, WA at the CASEE Center, grooming and mentoring many young men and women to become safe and successful future beekeepers. He also spent several years managing and improving a beekeeping barn at the local Clark County Fair where he conducted educational demonstrations, a favorite of many local attendees. Ted utilized his talent as a pilot after retirement by donating his time and skills to local Search & Rescue agencies, giving hands-on classes in mountain flying. He was proud to have worked with the Fish & Wildlife department, where he would track salmon & terns on the lower Columbia River.

Of his many interests, Ted’s favorite was spending time with family. He had a soft spot for his step granddaughters, showering them with love and kindness. Ted was known for his ability to tell an entertaining story of his adventures and had no shortage of things to share from his rich life experiences. His sense of humor would lighten the mood in any situation. He enjoyed exercising his brain doing crossword puzzles, playing cribbage, and engaging in the strategic nature of chess with several friends with whom the games played together would last for days. Ted will be remembered fondly by his family, and by so many in his communities for his enthusiasm for life, generosity, patience, kindness and outgoing & humorous nature.

He is survived by his eldest son, Theodore Wirch III, (grandchildren Helen, Nathan and Ana Leah, great-grandchildren Jack, Benjamin and Damian), daughter Justine Wirch, daughter Alexis Wirch (Alex) and newborn granddaughter Hailey Mayorquin, step son Casey Coats (Stephanie) and granddaughter Kaylee, step-daughter Angie McDougall (Jay) and granddaughter Emma, as well as his beloved sisters, Daisy Stahlberg (Ron) and Janet Lee Trout (Tom) and many nieces and nephews who adored him.

He is preceded in death by his beloved partner, Carol Weisenborn, (d. September 2019), his father Theodore (d. 1995), mother Janet (d. 1971), and sister Mary Ann Bartell (d. February 2020).

Just before he passed away, Ted had expressed to Angie, his step-daughter his concern for the children who rely on school lunch for a nutritious meal, and what would happen during the pandemic when school is conducted remotely from home. He wished to donate to ensure every child had a nice lunch during these trying times, and that is just a testament to his giving nature, always wondering how he could be of service and help others that are less fortunate.

Due to the current pandemic, a formal service will be postponed until his family members may safely travel. In lieu of flowers, please donate to your favorite children’s or educational charity on Ted’s behalf.



Funeral Home
Evergreen Staples Funeral Chapel
3414 NE 52nd Street #101
Vancouver, WA US 98661