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.