Beloved husband, father, grandfather and brother, Gunter "Mickey" Hirsch, died May 30, 2014, at home with Marion, his wife and companion of 48 years, his son Alwyn Hirsch, and his loyal dog Lucky, by his side. He leaves behind a thriving family spread across Europe, Australia, South Africa and the United States. They include children, Alwyn (Di), Nadine Burns, and Janine (Lee) McMillion; six grandchildren, Jodi, Mandy, Gary, Kim, Taryn and Nicole; seven great-grandchildren; and his sister, Lisa Frank of Sidney, Australia. He will also be missed by dozens of nieces and nephews, and by dear friends including former colleagues and clients from his long and successful real estate career.|
Gunter was born on March 1, 1920, in Frankfurt, Germany, to Leopold and Irma Hirsch, and grew up in Berlin. As a teenager, Gunter escaped the holocaust by fleeing his homeland and settling in Johannesburg, South Africa, with his brother, Helmut (deceased), his sister and his mother. There, he enlisted in the South African army where he served in the infantry and received his nickname Mickey. While in South Africa, Gunter also became a junior member in his brother and brother-in-law's renowned import and distribution company, Frank and Hirsch.
After the South African uprising in Sharpeville in 1960, Gunter and his second wife moved with her children to London where he succeeded in creating a well-known clothing brand, Elida.
Gunter's talents were many. He was an avid sportsman, taking the opportunity to snow and water ski, and golf, whenever he could. He was an exceptional bridge player, too. Gunter was smart, handsome, muscular, and debonair – qualities that weren't wasted on a young Swiss woman named Marion Husmann, whom he found skiing in St. Moritz. The two met and married in 1965. A year later, their daughter Janine was born and in 1977, the family moved to La Jolla.
The family thrived in their new hometown and Gunter embraced every wonderful aspect of La Jolla, often telling Marion he needed to pinch himself because he was so happy. He found his niche as a real estate agent at McKusick and Associates, working there with Marion, until the company closed its downtown La Jolla office. He and Marion then joined the Willis Allen Company where they worked until their retirement.
Gunter served as trustee and treasurer of the La Jolla Community Planning Association from 1994 through 2002. It wasn't until after his 90th birthday, in 2010, that the always-energetic Gunter began to really slow down. That's when he stopped making his bi-weekly treks to the Country Club for the bridge games that he still loved.
In his life, Gunter packed in a tremendous amount of adventure and appreciation of all that was beautiful and fun. He never looked back and never regretted his choices Throughout his four-year decline, he repeatedly thanked Marion for being such a good wife, and often told her, "When I'm gone, don't mourn me. I have had a rich and full life."
Gunter, we will miss your unique self. You made this world more colorful, more ethical, and so much more interesting.
A memorial service attended by friends and family was held Monday, June 2, 2014.
Published in La Jolla Light on June 5, 2014