Mechanic 03

Richard Alan Wirtz

July 31, 1951 ~ December 16, 2021 (age 70)




Richard Alan (Dick) Wirtz of Chattaroy, Washington, passed away on at one of his favorite places on the planet; his mechanic shop in north Spokane, on Dec 16, 2021.

He was born on July 31st, 1951, in Detroit Lakes, Minnesota to Vincent Paul and Delores Magdalena (Haverkamp) Wirtz, the middle of four boys. He attended Shadle High School (Class of 1969)

In 1966 his father purchased a mechanic shop in Spokane, Wa. Dick began working there at the age of 15, and continued working there throughout his entire life. He married Linda Marie (Erickson) Wirtz, together they bought a house in Chattaroy in 1974 and raised five children there.

Dick quietly countered the stereotype of a mechanic as a non-intellectual; he read more than most people who don’t have to for school (generally history books and current political events), and his favorite movies were foreign films. He had an endless curious mind; his face would get animated any time he had the opportunity to learn something new. He had the ability to inspire others by modeling the unique thrill that comes from consistently challenging oneself intellectually. While reserved, the act of clearing his throat was enough to cause all nearby to stop to listen to the subtle, witty words he would say.

His love for a good dad joke, or even better, a bad dad joke was appreciated by all, to the point of wearing Groucho Marx glasses for his daughter’s wedding pictures. The photographer was able to capture evidence of his favorite kind of absurdist humor: making fun of no one while being quietly ridiculous. His sense of humor was desert-dry: there was nothing better than the moment after he delivered his sacred lines, only giving away the joke with the crinkle of his eyes, the rest of his face trained with the seriousness of Steve Martin-turned-monk.

Dick was survived by his five children; Molz Wirtz with fiancé Cydney Wold, Russ Wirtz with wife Chelsea Wirtz, William Wirtz, Robert Wirtz, and Melody Swoboda-Wirtz with husband Casey Swododa, as well as his wife Linda Wirtz. He is survived by five grandchildren: Tristan Wirtz, Nicola Wirtz, Hazel Swoboda-Wirtz, Benjamin Wirtz, and Orson Swoboda-Wirtz, and four brothers: Ken Wirtz, Larry Wirtz, and Bob Wirtz, Jim Wirtz.

A Memorial Gathering will take place in the summer of 2022 at Linda and Dick’s home in Chattaroy.



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