George H. Wirth, 90, of New Athens, Illinois was born August 18, 1923, in Belleville, IL and died Tuesday, June 24, 2014, at the New Athens Home for the Aged in New Athens, IL. He graduated from New Athens Community High School in 1941 and went on to receive a Bachelor’s of Science degree from the University of Illinois in 1948. From 1942 to 1945 he proudly and honorably served his country during WWII in the United States Navy attaining the rank of ensign. Mr. Wirth held certifications for pilot, navigator and also bombardier. By that time the war was winding down and he was never called upon for combat missions.
Mr. Wirth worked at Autocrat Corporation in New Athens from 1945 – 1982 where he retired as president. He was the 1st Vice president of Peerless Enamel Products, Inc. from 1966 – 2000. He retired from the G. Wirth Corporation as C.E.O., which he operated from 1982 – 2000. He was also a free lance photographer from 1986 – 2000.
Mr. Wirth was a very firm believer in education. He served on the New Athens High School Board of Education from 1951 – 1954, and was president of the New Athens Community Unit #60 School Board of Education from 1954 – 1976. He was president of the Illinois Association of School Boards from 1969 – 1971, and Secretary-Treasurer of the National School Boards Association from 1974 – 1976. He also served at Cemrel, Inc., Regional Educational Laboratory on the Board of Directors from 1966 – 1976 and was Vice-Chairman of the Executive Committee from 1973 – 1975.
He served as Chairman of the State of Illinois Governor’s Educational Task Force in 1974. He was a member of the Steering Committee, Class 1 Proposition at Belleville Area College in 1966 and was the co-chairman of the Bond Issue Campaign at BAC in 1968. As a member of St. John United Church of Christ in New Athens, he served on the Church Council from 1966 – 1970 and was Church Council Secretary from 1968 – 1970. He was Moderator for the Illinois South Conference, United Church of Christ from 1972 – 1973 and was Past President of the New Athens Rotary Club. In addition to being a member of St. John United Church of Christ he was also a member of the St. Louis Camera Club and the Illinois Association of School Boards Past Presidents Club.
George was preceded in death by his parents, George P. and Ada Anna (Hessick) Wirth, Jr.
Surviving him are his wife Martha L. Wirth, nee Jelliffe of New Athens whom he married on July 22, 1950, in Springfield, IL; his 3 children: Steven P. Wirth of Ballwin MO, Laurie Wirth Melliand of Falls Church, VA and Eric C. Wirth of Kent, Ct.; and 1 granddaughter, Martina Melliand of Washington, D.C.
MEMORIALS: In lieu of flowers, memorials may be made to the New Athens Home for the Aged or to St. John United Church of Christ.
FUNERAL: A memorial service to celebrate George’s life will be held at 10 a.m. on Friday, August 22, 2014, at St. John United Church of Christ in New Athens, IL.
Heil-Schuessler Funeral Home in New Athens, IL is in charge of the arrangements.