Bernice Hirtzel

Bernice ""Bunny"" Hirtzel

1934 - 2021

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Obituary of Bernice Hirtzel

Bernice "Bunny" Hirtzel, 86, left this world on February 27, 2021, with her family nearby. She passed away in her retirement center after 11 months of forced, total isolation from her neighbors, friends, and family. Her cremated remains are at Wilhelm's Portland Memorial Mausoleum, in an urn resting in the garden. Her parents were Marion Hirtzel and Pauline Voelker, who also rest nearby in the mausoleum, along with other beloved relatives. She came into this world at Good Samaritan Hospital, Portland, Oregon, on December 21, 1934, and passed away at the Willamette View retirement community in Portland. In between, she lived a long, rich life of family, love and loss, and a passion for caring for others and our planet. In her long life, she traveled and lived all over the world. In 1956, while attending college in Waco, Texas, she married Richard C. Trexler, a navigator instructor with the U.S. Air Force, and had two children. In 1959, Bunny and her family took a boat to Germany, where the family lived for four years. While her husband attended university, she worked for the 97th General Army Hospital in Frankfurt. When the Berlin Wall went up in the early 1960s, Bunny and her two boys went to live with her parents for one year in Mexico, where her American father supervised the operation of a mine. Bunny and her sons then returned to Germany to re-join her husband. In those years in Germany, the family took many weekend and month-long trips all over Europe. The family returned to Texas in 1964. In the years that followed, the family lived in Los Angeles, Florence, Italy, Princeton, New Jersey, Champaign-Urbana, Illinois, and Binghamton, New York. In the two years in Italy, Bunny, who already spoke English, Spanish and German, learned Italian. During the time spent in Italy, the family took vacations to Turkey and Egypt. She loved the natural beauty of this world, and began bird watching in upstate New York in the late 1980s. Over the years, she took many birding trips all over the Americas, including Belize, Costa Rica, the Galapagos, Kauai, Texas, and Arizona. She also volunteered for several years with the Oregon Bluebird Restoration Project. Along with her many happy days, she suffered her share of sorrow. She lost her beloved father, Marion, when she was only 29 years of age, and was living abroad with her young children. She went through a painful divorce in later years. In her colorful career, she wore many hats. She earned a Bachelor's of Nursing Science from Baylor in 1956, and then worked as a nurse for many years. Later, she earned an MSN NA (Master's in Science of Nursing Administration). She then taught nursing management, and then nursing administration at State University of New York at Utica/Rome. She went on to earn an Ed.D. (Doctor of Education) at Columbia University. In 1994, she began working for Joint Commission on Accreditation of Health Care Organizations. With her team, she traveled all over the United States, surveying hospitals, until her retirement in the year 2001. After retiring, she moved to the Willamette View retirement community. Her sister, Jody, later joined her there. In time, their mother, Pauline, also moved in. Bunny and Jody then cared lovingly for their mother until her passing in 2004 at the age of 94. She is survived by her two sons, Mark Trexler and Paul Carr, and three grandsons, Marshall Kosloff, Marcus Kosloff, and Logan Conor Gillock-Carr. She loved the holiday dinners hosted every year by her son Mark, and weekly visits with her grandson Marcus, who also lives in Portland. During her days in hospice, she enjoyed daily visits from Mark’s German Shepherd puppy “Ghost,” slipping him as many treats as possible. In her last hour, she heard a recording of her grandson Logan introducing and playing her two favorite pieces on the piano, "Spanish Guitars", and "The Last Rose of Summer". In her later years, she had often traveled on the weekend to visit her grandson, Logan, and her son, Paul, outside Portland. For part of every visit, she would sit in the sunny living room, and listen to Logan play the piano, surrounded by photos of her family, and family treasures handed down over the years. And, in the end, that is where we leave her, healthy and vibrant, with the morning sun streaming in through the window, her beloved birds singing outside, loved ones around her, and music and peace in her heart.
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