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Kathleen Wirth Obituary

Kathleen McGowen Wirth
Kathleen McGowen Wirth

February 4, 1923 - August 10, 2019
Born in Ulysses, Nebraska
Resided in Salinas, California
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Kathleen McGowen Wirth, 96, was born in Nebraska and lived in Salinas, California for the last 46 years. She was a mother of six, a talented artist and teacher, including working at Hartnell Community College after moving from Nebraska City, Nebraska. She came to Salinas with her husband, Austin Wirth (deceased) who retired as a fabricator shop forman with Sea Mist Farms of Castroville. They were happily married for 62 years until his death in 2004. She was a member of Madonna del Sasso Parish. Two years ago she transferred from her long-time home on Cherokee Drive to live with son Mark Wirth and daughter-in-law Lola Llopis, retired teachers in the area.

Kathleen was the fourth child of George and Lizzie McGowen and attended a rural, one-room school house, went on to a high school class of 20 students in Ulysses, NE and received a Regent's scholarship to attend the University of Nebraska, graduating as valedictorian of her class in 1944. She worked her way through college and married Austin Wirth of Nebraska City, Nebraska on October 29, 1942 when they thought he would be leaving to serve in WWII. When Austin was exempted from the draft to farm, Kathleen rode a bus every week to the University from her then home in Nebraska City to complete her degree. Learning, family and service to others were her priorities throughout life.

Kathleen's older sister, Charlotte McGowen Wirth married Austin's older brother Theodore Wirth. The two marriages resulted in eleven double first cousins who all survive. Kathleen was the last of her generation and was preceded in death by husband Austin Wirth, her sister Charlotte (McGowen) Wirth and three brothers Leo, Robert and Thomas McGowen and brothers-in-law Theodore and Jerome Wirth. In 2018 the Wirth - McGowen family led by senior Kathleen received the University of Nebraska Alumni Association Family Award for four generations of educational accomplishments.

She is survived by her children,Janet (Jeff) Wirth Poley of Blacksburg, VA, Eileen Wirth of Omaha, NE, Patricia (Harry Burns) Wirth, Smithfield VA, Michael (Alice) Wirth, Knoxville, TN, Bernard (Sheila McIlnay) Wirth, Houston, TX
Mark (Lola Llopis) Wirth, Salinas, CA, Grandchildren: 11, Great Grandchildren: 20 and Nieces and Nephews: 6.

Visitation will be held 5:00p.m. to 6:00p.m. Friday, August 16, 2019 at Struve and Laporte Chapel, 41 W. San Luis Street, Salinas, CA. 93901.

Rosary will be 6:00p.m. Friday, August 16, 2019 at Struve and Laporte Chapel.

Funeral Mass will be held 1:00p.m. Saturday, August 17, 2019 at Madonna del Sasso Church, 320 E. Laurel Drive, Salinas, CA. 93906.

Burial to follow at Queen of Heaven Cemetery, 18200 Damian Way, Salinas, CA. 93907.




Struve and Laporte Chapel
41 W. San Luis Street
Salinas, California 93901
Friday, August 16, 2019
5:00 PM - 6:00 PM
Struve and Laporte Chapel
41 W. San Luis Street
Salinas, California 93901
Friday, August 16, 2019
6:00 PM
Madonna del Sasso Church
320 E. Laurel Drive
Salinas, CA US 93906
Saturday, August 17, 2019
1:00 PM
Queen of Heaven Cemetery
18200 Damian Way
Salinas, CA US 93907
Saturday, August 17, 2019