June 20, 1933 ~ October 7, 2007
Dr. Herman W. Wirka Jr. (74) died peacefully at home on Sunday, October 7th after a brief but difficult battle with cancer. Known as "Doc" to his friends, he was a beloved surgeon and active member of his Manhattan Beach community. He was born to Herman Sr. and Mildred Wirka on June 20, 1933 and spent his boyhood in Madison, Wisconsin. He studied at Williams College and the University of Wisconsin. While completing his medical degree, he married fellow medical student Elizabeth Weber with whom he had three children. Dr. Wirka moved with his family to southern California in 1967 when he began a cardio-thoracic surgical residency at Good Samaritan Hospital in downtown Los Angeles. He went on to help found the surgical group at Kaiser West L.A., where he worked until his retirement in 1996. Even prior to retirement, Dr. Wirka spent countless hours volunteering for causes he believed in. As a member of the Knights of Columbus, he spearheaded fundraising and outreach efforts to help low income families, promising young scholars, and boys at risk. He also volunteered over 25 consecutive summers as the camp physician for the Forest Lawn Boy Scout Reservation in Lake Arrowhead, California. Although known for an occasionally cantankerous and complex personality, Dr. Wirka will be remembered by his many friends and colleagues for his warm heart, his boundless generosity, and his jovial wit. He is survived by his sister Julie Bauer (Terry Crockett), his three children Susan (Tracy Johnson), Jeanne, and Karl Wirka (Mary Jane Kubler); and three grandchildren, Max, Laurel, and Grace. A gathering of family and friends will be held at White and Day Manhattan Beach Chapel on Thursday, October 11, 2007 from 1:00 P.M. until 5:00 P.M. A Rosary will follow at American Martyrs Church at 7:00 P.M. A funeral Mass will be held at American Martyrs Church on Friday, October 12, 2007 at 9:00 A.M. In lieu of flowers, Dr. Wirka has asked that donations be made to either Rancho San Antonio or the Boy Scouts of America.
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