Official Obituary of

John "Jack" Hirshfeld Jr

July 13, 1928 ~ March 9, 2024 (age 95) 95 Years Old

John Hirshfeld Jr Obituary

John Henry Kruse Hirshfeld, Jr., known affectionately as Jack or Jackie, passed away at the age of 95 on March 9, 2024, surrounded by loved ones at home in San Rafael. Jack was a lifelong Bay Area resident and a cherished friend to many. Born on July 13, 1928, in San Francisco to the late John Henry Kruse, Sr. and Amelia Dorothy Arietta.

Jack grew up in San Francisco alongside his sister, Valerie Jeanne Hirshfeld Dickinson, and his first cousin, Ella Frances Aiello, who was born in the same house as he,  three months prior. He attended Balboa High School, where he was president of his senior class. Post-graduation, Jack proudly served his country during WWII as a Seaman 1st Class in the US Coast Guard and later enjoyed his years of travel as a U.S. Merchant Marine.

Jack’s professional life was marked by his dedication to the San Francisco Fire Department, which he joined in 1954, originally as a temporary Marine Fireman hired to be a stoker on Fireboat 2. He rose through the ranks and retired as Assistant Chief. Jack spent most of his career on Trucks 15 and 5, retiring after 35 years of service in July 1989. During his retirement, he remained close to his SFFD family at regular get-togethers. Before his passing, the Retired Firefighters of Sonoma County honored Jack’s lifelong commitment to the fire department and its community with an award, recognizing his 35 years of service and 34 years of happy retirement. Father John Greene, retired Chaplain of the SFFD and Jack’s friend remarked, “When Jack answered the last alarm, he was one of the most respected members of the San Francisco Fire Department.”

On April 7, 1956, Jack married the love of his life, Bonnie. They built a life rich in love, laughter, and family, which included their twenty-two godchildren and countless friends. Jack found pleasure in the simple joys of life and was an aficionado of the horse races, where he always “broke even.” He could often be found on the golf course, bocce ball courts, or rooting for the Bears at a Cal game as his grandmother did before him. Jack made holidays special. His legendary corned beef and cabbage became a mainstay for St. Patrick’s Day celebrations, and his Easter egg hunts a treasured part of “Eastah.” Jack loved spending time with his grandchildren, teaching them how to make his famous chocolate milkshakes and lemon meringue pies and how to play soccer in his yard.

Jack will be remembered as a loving godfather, grandfather, and friend. He leaves behind his cousin and goddaughter, Joanne Zito-Sterzenbach (Dieter, Carina, and GJ); his godchildren, Kim Davis (grandchildren Andrea and Brendan), Jan Kowleski (Richard Harpham) and Scott Davis; godson, Charlie Ulbrich (Hannah, Elias, and Madison), and his SF Fire Department family.

Services to celebrate Jack’s life will be held in San Francisco on Friday, April 5, 2024, at 1 pm at the Church of the Epiphany, 827 Vienna St. A reception will immediately follow at the Olympic Club Lakeside Clubhouse at 599 Skyline Blvd.  In place of flowers, donations to St. Jude’s Children’s Research Hospital or Shriner’s Hospital are appreciated.

Assisted by Monte’s Chapel of the Hills, San Anselmo, CA.

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Funeral Mass
April 5, 2024

1:00 PM
Church of the Epiphany
827 Vienna Street
San Francisco, CA 94112


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