Richard E. 'Dick' Hirsch, retired electrical engineer, dies

Richard E. “Dick” Hirsch, a retired Western Electric Co. electrical engineer and manager, died Friday from respiratory failure at Gilchrist Hospice Care in Towson. He was 94 and had lived in Timonium.

Richard Elmer Hirsch was born and raised in Elizabeth, N.J. He was the son of Emil Hirsch, a soft drink company manager, and Gertrude Stein Hirsch, a homemaker. He was a graduate of local public schools.

During World War II, he served with Army Signal Corps in the Pacific Theater and was later a telephone wire chief in Manila.

After being discharged from the Army, he obtained a degree in electrical engineering from the New Jersey Institute of Technology.

Mr. Hirsch joined Western Electric Co. in the 1950s, and from 1955 to 1960 was part of the effort to implement the first communication project linking towns and communities across Alaska, family members said.

In 1965, Mr. Hirsch was transferred from Western Electric’s office in New York City to Cockeysville, where he was one of the managers responsible for establishing a regional headquarters for engineering and installation, at Hunt Valley.

He retired in 1984.

Mr. Hirsch was a past president of the Life Member Club of the Telephone Pioneers of America.

A longtime resident of Timonium, he later moved to Mays Chapel, then to the Pickersgill retirement community in West Towson, where he lived in recent years. He enjoyed playing golf and was a member of the Winters Run Golf Club in Bel Air. He also was an inveterate bridge player.

Mr. Hirsch had been an active member and former elder of Chestnut Grove Presbyterian Church in Jacksonville.

His wife of 25 years, the former Jane Heemsath, died in 1980.

Funeral services will be held at 11 a.m. March 9 at Peaceful Alternatives Funeral and Cremation Center, 2325 York Road, Timonium.

He is survived by a son, Eric Hirsch of North Scituate, R.I.; a sister, Claire Prince of Hackettstown, N.J.; six grandchildren; and six great-grandchildren. Another son, Kent Hirsch, died in 2004.

--Frederick N. Rasmussen

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