Robert J. “Bob” Wirtz

On March 22, 2022, Robert “Bob” Wirtz passed away at the Stoneleigh Residence of Hospice of Lansing.  He was 85 years old.

Born to a working family, Bob grew up at Long Lake (now Ramona Park) near Kalamazoo.  He reported that without coaches and parents managing everything, the kids there learned to hit, run, and kick….how to get into trouble and how to get out of trouble.   Although he began his schooling at the local Pershing School, Bob was transferred in 5th grade to St. Augustine where he made new friends and became part of the Class of 1954.  During his time at St. Augustine, Bob was an altar server, an athlete, and an occasional pool player. He reported that although he was never an honor student and formal education was never a big thing, he learned a lot.

After high school, Bob went to Western Michigan University and played some football and a lot of cards.  It was a short career.  Moving on to the Marine Corps, Bob finally found his place.  The Marines taught him discipline, how to lead and how to be responsible- life changing lessons.  He also found his future wife, Joan Trahan, along the way.  After discharge from the Marines, the two were married and began their family, taking up residence in Kalamazoo.  Bob returned to college, this time with a mission and a live-in coach.  Joan made sure he did his homework, sometimes even outlining the reading for him while he worked full time at Consumer’s Sand and Gravel.

After graduation, Bob began his career with an exciting new position as a history teacher and coach at Barbour Hall Junior Military School in Kalamazoo.  In his 12 years there, he had the privilege of working with the Sisters of St. Joseph caring for, and educating, young boys.  After leaving his principal position at Barbour Hall, Bob moved on to the DeWitt Public School System and, finally, the Loomis Law Firm in Lansing.  Bob spent 18 years with the Loomis Firm as a legal administrator and reveled in the work and the team there. Bob’s respect for the attorneys and staff at the firm knew no bounds.  In 1999, Bob retired to take care of Joan as she struggled with dementia until she passed in 2002.

Bob is survived by two daughters Barbara Wirtz (Hugh Lindsey) and Amy Shabluk (Jon) and his grandchildren Alex Lindsey, Megan Lindsey and Macie Shabluk.

The Funeral Mass will be celebrated at 11:00 a.m. Saturday, March 26, 2022, at St. John Student Parish in East Lansing, with interment to follow in St. Joseph Catholic Cemetery, Lansing. His family will receive friends at the Estes-Leadley Greater Lansing Chapel from 5:00 – 7:00 p.m. Friday, as well as one hour prior to the Funeral Mass at the church on Saturday. In lieu of flowers, the family requests that donations be made to Hospice of Lansing, Inc. or the charity of your choice in his memory.

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7 Messages to “Robert J. “Bob” Wirtz

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Robert Elliott
March 23, 2022 at 6:15 pm

Bob was my boss while teaching in Dewitt. I so appreciated Bob’s guidance and direction he provided as building administrator. Deepest condolences to his family and wish I could be at funeral to pay my respects. Current situation does not allow. The Elliott family

David ODell
March 24, 2022 at 12:46 pm

Working with Bob at DeWitt Middle School was an enjoyable experience. Bob’s position was an assistant principal and athletic director. Being a coach I appreciated his knowledge of athletics. His sense of humor and quick laugh will always be remembered. RIP

Mary Kay Smith
March 24, 2022 at 3:04 pm

I have worked with Barb for over a decade and know how much she loved and cared for her father…which went both ways. So sorry for your loss and pray for peace and support in the days and months to come as you adjust to life without him.

zadie jackson
March 25, 2022 at 8:54 am

Barb, Your Dad was a special person. I know the aunts and uncles welcomed him to heaven. God is in for a bit of fun. All my best.

Robert Posey
March 25, 2022 at 11:05 am

Bob was a neighbor and a friend. He joined us on many Guy’s Golf Outings and helped keep us in line and the cottage neat as a pin. He was always friendly and hospitable and usually seated beside his beloved dog. A truly wonderful person.

Andrea’s Larkin
March 25, 2022 at 6:19 pm

I will miss my frequent driveway conversations with Bob. He was a true gentleman, a caring and warm neighbor and a proud father and grandfather. His absence will leave quite a void in the neighborhood and on Foxcroft road. Condolences to all who loved him.

John Greenslit
March 27, 2022 at 1:37 pm

Wirtz Family,
Please accept my deepest sympathy and condolence in the loss of Bob. He was a casual friend, always civil, thoughtful, respectful and supportive. We shared a passion for the development of youth, through guidance and mentoring in athletics. We’ve lost a good guy.
John Greenslit


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