In Memory of

David Frank Hirte

March 26, 1937–September 30, 2019

Photo of David Frank Hirte

About David Frank Hirte

On September 30, 2019 David Frank Hirte, loving husband, devoted father, and granddad departed from this life into the next.

Dave, as he was known to family and friends, was born in Portland, OR to Enid Ellen Powell Hirte and Frank Herbert Hirte on March 26, 1937. He and his brother Marvin Hirte enjoyed being raised by parents who took them camping and fishing frequently. Dave earned his Eagle Scout badge through the Boy Scouts of America. As a young man, Dave developed narcolepsy. He never let this disease define him but it did give him an inner strength that many people never knew lay below the surface.

After graduating from Beaverton High School, Dave attended Willamette University. He was torn between studying literature (what he wanted) and something more practical. Upon his departure from Willamette, he went to work for the Oregon Department of Transportation. While working as an inspector on a job, Dave met two fellas who introduced him to their sister, Karen May Califf. Both Dave and Karen knew early in their courtship that they were meant to be. After marrying they settled down in Portland where Dave continued to work for the Highway Department and Karen taught grade school. The Freemont Bridge is one of the many projects that have Dave’s fingerprints on them.

Dave and Karen soon had a baby girl and then a son. Dave moved his family around the state working on various highway projects–Portland, Salem, Condon, The Dalles, Gresham and finally returning to Salem where he retired after 35 years of civil service.

When Dave had time and energy he enjoyed photography, fishing, camping, and home remodel projects. He was always there for his children, his church, and anyone in need. For years he kept an ongoing prayer list and once you were on this list you were on it for good. He will be missed by many.

He leaves behind his wife of 51 years, Karen May Califf-Hirte. A son, Mike Hirte who with daughter-in-law M. Kristen Taylor-Hirte just had a baby boy, Alistair Califf Hirte, born July 10, 2019. He and Karen spent the last 7 years living with and being cared for by his daughter, Carolyne Hirte-Thrasher, her husband Robert Thrasher and grandchildren Padraig and Rachel. He also leaves behind brother Marvin Hirte and sister-in-law Karen Hirte (yep, the brothers both married Karens).

A memorial service will be held at Salem First Presbyterian Church on November 2nd at 2 o’Clock pm. If you would like to make a contribution to the study of and search for a cure for narcolepsy in Dave’s honor, a fundraiser has been setup at Wake Up Narcolepsy