Dr. Harry Alf Zirk


It is with heartfelt sadness that we announce the passing of Dr. Harry Zirk on July 22, 2018 at the age of 63. He is survived by Heather, his high school sweetheart and wife of 40 years, his much loved children Katie (Robyn), Stephanie (Dan), Amanda (Josh), and Nathaniel, and his adored granddaughters Cara, Guin, and Ali. He also leaves to mourn his sister Rita, sister in law Leah, brother in law Kevin (Dar), and their families. He was predeceased by his father, Alfons, in 1963, and both his mother Tabea and his brother in law Bill in 2016. Memorial Service will be held at Lord of Life Lutheran Church 2710-79 St Edmonton, at 11:00 a.m. Saturday July 28, 2018.

Harry was born and raised in Calgary, Alberta. He met Heather in grade 11 in a literature class where she was drawn to his generous personality and maturity. Harry enjoyed drama, playing and writing music, and was active in many school clubs and at his church as a Sunday school teacher. He was an honours student and received many awards and scholarships throughout his school years.

After obtaining his BSc in Psychology from the U of C, Harry worked with children with learning disabilities for several years. When he was 30 years old, Harry decided to pursue his dream of becoming a doctor. He and Heather worked together to juggle schedules, make time for one another, maintain a house, and raise their children during those busy years.

In 1990, Harry graduated from medical school and the family moved to Edmonton where Harry became a family physician and completed the Care of the Elderly program. Harry was on numerous boards and held various positions during his medical career. Although he worked long hours, and was on call MANY weekends, he missed very few school concerts and soccer games. When he was home, he was present (playing Barbies, doing puppet shows, singing, reading, watching movies). He always encouraged each of us in whatever pursuits we had.

Harry loved big, loud family gatherings. He enjoyed introducing his children to local theatre with season tickets for several years, and exploring each Canadian capital city during summer vacations. He was a tease, and liked to push people’s buttons, which helped his children become the strong, opinionated people that they are. He was extremely proud of his children and their partners, and loved them all dearly. He LOVED being a Bapa, and never let a week go by without seeing or FaceTiming the girls.

Harry made an effort to show his care with unexpected love notes and regular date nights with Heather, and never missed an opportunity to give a hug and say “I love you.” He genuinely cared about people, and did not want to see anyone hurting. He gave time to patients, colleagues, students, neighbours, friends, and extended family. Harry made sure to recognize the efforts people make. He was down-to-earth, and treated everyone as equals.

Over the last 10 years, Harry had many health issues, but he worked hard to continue doing the things that he enjoyed: practicing medicine, hosting family BBQs, travelling to the condo in Mexico, going camping, going to NYC and on cruises, and participating in mission trips to build houses for migrant workers in Mexico through Live Different. Even in death, Harry thought of others through tissue donation.

Harry knew and loved God, and even though he worked hard for the things that he accomplished, he never forgot to say a prayer of thanksgiving for everything that he had. God has and continues to bless our family in so many ways, and Harry always made sure we remembered that. The last month of Harry’s life, even though he was in hospital, was a gift to us because it gave our family and others time to be together, express our love and support to one another, and to tell Harry what he meant to us.

We wish to express our sincere thanks to the staff in CCU, Unit 1 East, Unit 51, Tim Hortons, and Trendz at the Royal Alexandra Hospital, as well as our friends and family for the support and care you provided us during Harry’s hospitalization.

To honour Harry’s generous spirit, in lieu of flowers, donations can be made to https://livedifferent.com/donate and we strongly encourage you to sign your donor card.




Location information

Previous events

Memorial Service
Lord of Life Lutheran Church

2710-79 Street Edmonton AB T6K 3Z1

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Tribute wall - a place to share your memories and condolences

Russell & Natasha (Amanda, Lewis, & Chris) Warnock

I’m sorry sorry to hear about Dr. Zirk. He was our family Doctor and my dad’s too. We all loved him. He was very caring, funny, and patient man. Our thoughts and prayers go out to his family. Thanks for sharing him with us all.

Maureen Harland

I was saddened to hear today that Harry had passed away. He was my Family’s Dr for many years, such a wonderful person. My sincere condolences to his family. I was blessed to known him.

Christine & Dave Buck

To Heather snd Family,
David and I are so sad about the loss of Harry.
He was true gentleman and kind and generous!
We send our nest to you all!

Bruce Rakoczy

Such sad news. What a wonderful man and doctor. Dr Zirk was my physician for the last 17 years and I always looked forward to seeing him and hearing his hearty husky laugh. Will be missed greatly.

Tanya Dunbar

It is with great sadness to hear of Dr.Zirks passing. In all the years I have known him he was always caring, kind, compassionate and a true inspiration to all that were blessed to know him. He always had a smile and took the time to truly listen and provide a warm hug in difficult times and a pat on the back through good. You will truly be missed and in my heart forever.

Andrew Spak

To Harry’s family…I am so sorry about Harry’s passing! He really was an inspiration and made a big impression on me as a medical student and as a family medicine resident. I did not know about Harry’s faith, but it is a deep comfort to me as a fellow Christian to know that a man with such a big personality and deep love for patients, people in general and for family was of course a follower of Christ!

Trent Dusang

I was saddened to hear about Harry’s passing. Edmonton has lost a caring physician who taught many of his colleagues compassionate care by example. We always talked about getting together for coffee and sadly we just never got to it. To his family, you have many people who will be thinking of you and Harry.

Laurie Hansen

Our heartfelt condolences go out to you Heather and family. I only heard of his passing this morning. Harry was such a wonderful man and a real positive role model to my kids when we lived in Edmonton. He was also one of my trusted friends and helped me so much after Frank died. He was everybody’s dad and friend. So sorry. I am praying for you right now as the memorial service is on. as I am not able to be there.

Marv Krebs

In my time with you as your interim pastor at Lord of Life I so much appreciated Harry. He truly was everything that has been written about him, and much more! Harry was an inspiration to me, a wonderful man who cared not only for physical needs as a medical doctor, but who cared for the whole person with an immense amount of love. Praise be to God for Harry, for a life well lived, and who now lives in endless joy in the presence of the Lord and Savior he loved and lived for!

Arlene and Andre Lachapelle

To Heather and Family
We were so sorry to hear of Harry’s passing. He had a fantastic sense of humor and wonderful ready laugh. Always an easy man to talk with and listen too. He will be missed by many.
Our deepest sympathy .

Lesley Cormack

Heather and Rita,

My thoughts are with you at this time. Harry was such an important person for me at Crescent. He was a force in I Remember Mama . He was just larger than life and I will remember him always.

Marguerite Fisk

Dr. Zirk was the best of the best. I was shocked and saddened to hear the news. I am grateful for his many years of assistance, advice and chuckles! Condolences to everyone who will miss him.

Marguerite Fisk – patient

Ronda and David Morgan

To the Zirk Family. My thoughts and prayers are with you all at this difficult time. Harry was an amazing person who lifted our spirits and kept us smiling. We really appreciated all he did for us when David’s mom was in the hospital. He will be missed.

Pamela Smith

I am so very thankful to have known you and to have called you my family friend. I’m going to miss you Harry so much! I’m going to miss your hug, your laugh and smile. Say hi to the big guy in the sky and put in a good word for me okay?

Betty Switzer

My sincere condolences to Heather, Katie, Stephanie , Amanda and Nathaniel as you mourn the loss of a husband and father.

It’seems been a while since I was at Lord of Life. Not far from my mind has been the memories that were made when we were in Folk Group all those Saturday morning practices and Harry kept us in stitches.
Harry, you will be deeply missed and thank you for the showing me that if you allow God to be the head of your family all things are possible.

Deb Albrecht

To Heather and family
I would like send my deepest sympathies to the family.
The little bit I knew of Harry I loved. He had a heart of gold. Always so sincere and caring of other people.

Lesley Fairbridge

Dear Heather and Family,
I was shocked to read of Harry’s passing today and can only imagine the loss you must be feeling. Harry was such a kind and gentle man who always took time to stop and chat for a minute. He was a ray of sunshine on the cloudiest of days to those of us at the Grey Nuns who knew him and his laugh put a smile on your face, just hearing it. I wish you comfort and peace and hope the coming days will be filled with many joyful memories of Harry. Love, Lesley

Sharon Bignell

Harry always made a soccer game more exciting and was a great help when my mom was sick. Sorry for your loss Amanda and Heather.

Christine Randell

How fortunate John and I were to be able to join you and Heather and your family and large group of friends on the 2016 Live Different build in Mexico. From the moment we met I felt like we had been friends for ever and been a part of your team on the build was so much fun. I loved how even though you struggled sometimes to get around you always found a valuable job to do and there were always lots of laughs. Your infectious laugh and your big smile and your big bear hugs will be so missed even though we both only knew you for a short time. Rest In Peace my friend.
Love to all family and friends,
Christine and John Randell New Zealand

Reinhold and Julie Lutter

So Sorry to hear about Harry. We will both miss him in church. He was always happy and friendly. Glad you had a few last days with him.

Pat Haugland

I will always remember his smile, generosity’ warmth and caring. He made me feel like an important part of the Lord of Life Church family. He will be deeply missed. My heartfelt condolences to all the family and especially Heather.

Carolyne Ashton

I am saddened beyond words. Harry has been my family Doctor for 25 years. Even more importantly, he has been my friend. He guided me with sincere caring and compassion through the loss of a daughter, my mother and most recently my husband. His hand shakes, hugs and deep laughter will never be forgotten. Heather and family…….my sincere heartfelt sympathy goes out to each of you, never forget he was loved and will not be forgotten by so many people you did not know.

Petra Boettcher and Family

Dear Zirk Family –
So saddened to hear the news. Our thoughts and prayers are with you all. Heartfelt condolences.
Oh Harry – your presence among the cousins is missed. You are loved and were loved by many.
With tender blessings,
Petra Boettcher and Family

John Frey

Rita, how well I remember you and your brother Harry from your years in high school You were both overflowing with life, so busy with your broad scope of interests, so insightful and intelligent. I was very fortunate to be able to know you for those few years as your counsellor and I have often thought of you both in the four decades since. I am saddened by your loss of your brother.

Norman Yee

Harry, we will always remember your big smile and hearty infectious laugh. Med school was less of a grind and had many more memories of fun and cameraderie with you. Given our names, it was always a joke that I was no longer going to graduate last in a class. Thought of you lots over the years, and regret not being able to get together. We will continue to think of you, and our deepest condolences to Heather and your whole family. Go with God, my friend.

marlyn Wall

My condolences to Harry’s family. What a loss for you.
I worked with Harry back in the eighties/nineties at EGH/the Youville. He was so special. A great joy to work alongside. I think your words have captured it all, and I add my deep admiration. Whenever I think the world is going to hell in a hand basket, I remember this amazing man and …. I can’t even imagine your great loss.

Mary Whale

Harry represented the linchpin of our geriatric team since I first joined the Southside Primary Care Network in 2008 as a geriatric nurse. He was a reliable resource with a generous spirit and a grand role model. Thank you Harry.

Lesley Charles

Harry was an amazing person who will be missed greatly. He was always larger than life with a great sense of humour. He showed strong leadership building the geriatrics program at the GNH. However, what always impressed me most was his thoughtfulness and willing ness to spend time and help anyone in need.

Nicole and John Zaremba

Zirk family ,
We would like to send our condolences, we are currently away and cannot be there .
Harry will be remembered by his contagious smile , great personality and the hugs he gave every time he greeted us , the memories we shared with him and his family during our 2016 live different trip will never be forgotten.
We pray and send our love
The Zaremba’s

Gail Foreman

I first met Harry through Heather as we were classmates at the Holy Cross School of Nursing in Calgary. He was so kind and friendly, it was easy to be friends with him. I was so fortunate to have spent so much time with both Heather and Harry at such an important and pivotal part of my life. I was honoured to sing at their wedding and to travel across Canada with them.
Harry you will be missed. You were larger than life and a real inspiration in your determination to pursue medicine.
I have always thought of Heather and Harry almost as one. A perfect team, committed to each other and their family. My sincere condolences but also my happiness that you were so lucky to have such a wonderful man in your lives. With love. Take care of each other.

Susan Walker

Harry was so many things to me. I loved how you just felt warm and fuzzy when you were in the same room as him. He always had a listening ear and offered his insight on matters in a sincere and caring way. His sense of humor was amazing. I loved his big laugh. Sitting in front of Harry and Heather at church was always a treat as they would often harmonize while singing the hymns. I am so Blessed to have walked some of my life’s journey with Harry. He will be in my heart as I move on “down my road”.

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