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1410 E Bowman Ave.
Las Cruces, NM 88001-3001
Phone: (575) 526-2419
Fax: (575) 526-7944
David Hirsch
In Memory of
1951 - 2021
Memorial Candle Tribute From
Getz Funeral Home
"We are honored to provide this Book of Memories to the family."
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Obituary for David Hirsch

David  Hirsch
It is with immense sadness that we announce the passing of David Bela Hirsch on Sunday, April 18th at the age of 69 after a valiant fight from stomach cancer. He passed peacefully at his home with his loving family by his side.

David, birth named Bela, was born in Focsani, Romania on July 11, 1951 to Holocaust survivors Ladislau and Dora Hirsch. During his youth, he enjoyed the carefree lifestyle the small village provided. He moved to the city to attend a competitive high school, eventually enrolling in the University of Politecnia where he received his undergraduate degree in chemical engineering. David worked several years in Romania but dreamed of living a better life in the United States. He eventually left communist Romania by traveling through Israel and Italy, arriving in Cleveland, Ohio in 1976. He immediately earned his master’s degree in chemical engineering at Cleveland State. During this time, he worked hard to bring his parents to the United States, where they all proudly obtained their citizenship. He was initially employed by Republic Steel until the company moved their steel production overseas. This turned out fortuitous when he was hired as a contractor for NASA’s Flight Safety Team at White Sands Johnson Space Center in Las Cruces, New Mexico where he rejoiced in working for 30 years until he retired in 2011.

The best joy David had in life was his family. He is survived by his loving wife Joan, of 35 years, his three proud daughters, Jessica Madrid, Rebecca (Jeremy) Milligan and Laura (Paul) Smith along with two grandsons, Andres Madrid and Tobias Milligan, his sister Paula and brother-in-law Emery Marcus and sister-in-law Judy and brother-in-law Paul Hederstrom. David had one niece Vivien Marcus and four nephews Peter Markus, Mark (Timea) Marcus, Matthew (Lena) Hederstrom and Mark (Cheryl) Hederstrom. He is preceded in death by his mother and father, Dora and Ladislau Hirsch.

David accomplished so much with his short life and had plans for much more. He authored more than 50 publications and presented all over the world on aerospace material test methodologies related to spacecraft fire and oxygen systems safety. The test methods in which he helped design continue to keep astronauts safe today, and a selection of his publications reside in the Library of Congress, the largest and most diverse collection of scientific and technical information in the world. He had an eternal passion for teaching and collaborating with others within NASA and all over the world.

David always made friends with every person he met, and he never knew a stranger. He undoubtedly fell in love with every dog he saw, and gleefully apprised of his rescue puppies at home. He traveled to 37 countries with his wife in his short retirement. He was an avid gardener, and his alluring yard was featured in the “Tour of Homes''. He designed and constructed his backyard for his children and grandchildren to enjoy with fishponds, rivers, a treehouse, cabin playhouse, and a clubhouse. Mostly, he loved to eat and cook for his family and friends, particularly chicken soup and cabbage rolls. His final endeavor was to design marble sculptures and write poems reflecting on his deepest emotions. He was able to feature his work in an art expedition, and his most treasured sculpture entitled “Hope” will be on permanent display at MD Anderson Cancer Institute in Houston.

David was so proud of his old-world heritage; his parents miraculously surviving the Holocaust, reuniting with one another, and immigrating to America. He was so humbled by his parent’s experience and was distinctly blessed to be an American. He would often fondly tell of his father being liberated from Mauthausen concentration camp by the 11th Armored Division of Paton's 3rd Army. One of his greatest honors was to be an American delegate for the International Aerospace Consortium where he presented his papers and research to members from forty countries. He was invariably grateful when the TSA agent would hand back his passport when returning to the US and proclaim “Mr. Hirsch, welcome home”.
We can only imagine what he must have felt when he heard the final heavenly declaration, “welcome home”!

David did not wish to have a funeral, rather a celebration of his life with his family in the summer at Yosemite National Park, a place he always planned to visit.

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