John Henry Wirtz

Aug 20, 1934 - Mar 12, 2013 (Age 78)

Guest Book

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Earlier today I was shocked to learn about the passing of your husband and father, Jack Wirtz. I was Mr. Wirtz's first student teacher at Elgin in Fall of 1969. I soon learned that I was in the presence of an awesome gentleman who introduced me to the best musical literature and the best teaching methods. I had told my teachers at the University of Illinois that they should send me to "the best" and they certainly did! He continued to mentor and teach me for many years even after...

I played the flute at OPRFHS and went to Europe with the orchestra. It was a life changing trip and I owe that all to Mr. Wirtz. How many kids can come out of high school saying that they have been to Italy, Austria, Germany, France and Switzerland? We played New World Symphony and Rhapsody in Blue. It was such a privilege to be able to play such wonderful music at the HS level. Now that my kids are getting a bit older, I wonder who in their right mind would take a bunch of teenagers out...

Mr. Wirtz's legacy lives on at OPRF. The Concert Tour Association is now called APPLAUSE! and covers all the performing arts. The citrus sales to benefit students "savings accounts" for tours still exists and there are fall and spring flower sales as well. The band and orchestra toured Vienna and Prague this spring. We are all grateful for his vision and dedication for music and the kids that we still benefit from today.

I am very soory to hear of Jack's passing. He was a wonderful musician/educator and influenced numerous young lives. He was also a great guy.
I have fond memories of times with Jack at our SIU summer camps.
My sincere condolences to all of his family.
God Bless.
Mike Hanes, Director of Bands Emeritus

Please accept our sincere sympathy Catherine and family...and also JoAnn.

Mr. Wirtz met me when I was a freshman at OPRF. He said in a teacher-parent-student conference that I was too serious. I think that he wanted me to have more fun with music. Well I did. In 1977 and 1979 we travelled to Europe and these were life-changing tours for me. Thank you Jack

An influence on my life as my tenure in the OPRF orchestra was the foundation of my time there, and the lessons I learned, and the experience gleaned, all can be traced back to Mr. Wirtz. I'm deeply saddened to learn of his passing, but his life does affirm how a single person can greatly affect so many others in such a profound way. With deep sympathy to his family.

I was deeply saddened to read of the passing of Mr. Wirtz. He was the finest teacher and a kind patient soul. I learned of his passing on the evening of my son's concert during which he played a beautiful solo. As I listened, I thanked him for his gift which I have passed on to my own children. With deepest sympathy.

Mr. Wirtz was my orchestra leader at OPRF. I remember the twinkle in his eye and his love for excellent music. He always tried to encourage me to spend more time with my violin. I went to a summer music camp and an European tour with him. I am so sorry to read of his passing. I cherish my high school orchestra memories and send my prayers to his family. Sincerest sympathy.


John's Obituary

Jack Wirtz, 78, of Ottawa, died Tuesday night, March 12, 2013, at his home at Pleasant View. Memorial Mass will be at 10 a.m. Monday, March 18, at St. Columba Church in Ottawa, with Rev. David Kipfer, Pastor, officiating. Visitation will be one hour prior at the church. Burial will be at Abraham...

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