On Friday, December 29th, after a courageous battle against cancer and heart disease, and with family beside him, John Wirth of Vermillion passed peacefully at Avera Medical Center in Sioux Falls.
Born in Vermillion on July 30, 1947 to Lawrence and Ferne Wirth, he was a 1965 graduate and star athlete of Vermillion High School and a 1969 USD grad, where he was a member of SAE fraternity.
Upon graduation he entered military service as a ROTC 2nd Lieutenant, and served in Vietnam with the 101st Airborne until 1972. He came home a combat veteran with a Bronze Star, proud to have never lost a man from the troops he led.
John’s long career in steel sales would take him from coast to coast. He and Diane Sammelson of Vermillion were married in 1990. Career moves led them to Eugene, OR where they raised son Cody and John sold steel until his retirement and their return to Vermillion in 2015.
Family and friends will recall John’s bent for having fun. As an avid golfer he won several club championships. He also loved hunting and salmon fishing, and coached many of Cody’s youth teams where he became very close to many of Cody’s young friends.
We’ll remember him not only as a loving husband, father, brother, and uncle. but also as a true warrior who fought to the very end. You will be forever missed, Johnny.
John is survived by Diane, his wife of 28 years, and son, Cody; sisters Patricia Duke of Raleigh, NC and Rosemary (Bob) VanEpps of Denver, CO; brother Jeff (Marilyn) Wirth of Tucson, AZ, sister-in-law Darcy Sammelson, brother-in-law Grant Sammelson and many nieces and nephews. Predeceasing him were his parents, brother Jimmy Wirth, and brother-in-law Greg Sammelson of Vermillion.
No services will be held at this time, but plans for a memorial golf tournament will be announced at a later date.