June 25, 1929 - December 23, 2021
Col. Paul Richard Wirth, U.S. Army, Ret. June 5, 1929 – Dec. 23, 2021 Miami – Retired Col. Paul Richard Wirth, U.S. Army, passed away at 92 on Dec. 23, 2021. Wirth was born in Central Hershey, Cuba (now known as Camilo Cienfuegos), a model community 50 miles east of Havana. Established by Milton Hershey in 1916, the company town employed many, including Wirth’s father, Harry Clinton Wirth, at the chocolate maker’s sugar mill. Early Life Wirth began school in the Hershey one-room schoolhouse. He enjoyed the Cuban countryside, hunting with his pointer Diana and his after-school job working cattle aboard his horse Bonifacio. Wirth attended the Ruston Academy in Havana, traveling by train to the city each Sunday, and returning to Hershey for the weekend. In Havana, he stayed with his aunt Clara Park de Sanchez Pesino, publisher of the English newspaper, The Havana Post. Wirth gained an appreciation for opera and classical music from his uncle, Dr. Perico de Sanchez Pesino, who insisted he listen to an opera each evening while reading the libretto. He graduated from Florida Military Academy, St. Petersburg, in 1948. Wirth was a wrestler and played football. In Hershey, Wirth met his bride-to-be, Herminia Chirino y Alonso, daughter of the Hershey company doctor, Fernando Chirino. When he was 9 years old, he made corsages for Chirino out of the rose bushes in his yard so she would be obligated to dance with him at the events at the Hershey Club. When they were both 14, they began chaperoned dating. Wirth attended The Citadel in Charleston, South Carolina, where he was the president of the Yachting Club. He had a lifelong love of the ocean, sailing and fishing. He graduated in 1952 and married Chirino that summer. Military Service Wirth served as an infantry officer for 24 years, including three hardships tours, twice to Korea and once to Vietnam. He was a two-time Legion of Merit recipient and was awarded the Bronze Star for heroism in combat. From 1961-1963, Wirth was stationed in Berlin, Germany. He was briefly captured by the Stasi (East German Police) while on a covert mission in East Germany. It was a Cold War international incident that made the U.S. news. In 1967, Wirth served as senior province advisor in the Go Cong during Vietnamization. He led South Vietnamese troops, and according to intelligence sources and village locals, the Viet Cong had a price on his head. In 1968 he earned a master’s degree in personnel management from George Washington University while posted at the Pentagon. Stationed at West Point from 1971-1975, Wirth was deputy chief of staff of personnel. He enjoyed his extracurricular role as Officer-In-Charge of the Cadet Riding Team alongside Coach Col. Robert Ballagh. The team competed in the newly formed Intercollegiate Horse Shows Association and hosted competitions at the West Point Field House. Retirement and Business Upon retiring from the Army in 1976, Wirth took the reins of Johnson Shipping from his aunt Cassie Park. Later, his son Paul R. Wirth Jr. joined him in the Miami River firm. Eventually, they expanded operations to the ports of Miami, Port Everglades and Houston, offering container and shipping services to the Caribbean, Central and South America. Wirth and his wife resided in Cutler South, where Hurricane Andrew demolished their home. They relocated to Coral Gables, where they enjoyed many years. He was an avid military historian and kept a library of books on the Civil War. In 2019, they moved to an independent living apartment in Kendall. Wirth is preceded in death by his mother Irma Park Wirth, father, Harry Clinton Wirth and sister Jean Kaleta. He is survived by his wife of 69 years, Herminia C. Wirth, son, Paul R. Wirth Jr. (Linda Yusman Wirth), daughters Deborah Wirth (Jafet Gonzalez) and Carolyn (Carrie) Wirth (Christian Palmer) and grandsons Christopher, Jonathan and Jordan Wirth. Services will be held on Saturday, Jan. 15, 2021. Visitation from 10 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. at Van Orsdel Funeral Chapel, 11220 N. Kendall Drive, Miami 33176 and mass at Saint Louis Catholic Church at 1 p.m. 7270 SW 120th Street, Pinecrest 33156. Wirth will be interred at South Florida National Cemetery, Lake Worth, Florida, with Military Honors In lieu of flowers, please donate to the Wounded Warrior Project
Col. Paul Richard Wirth, U.S. Army, Ret. June 5, 1929 – Dec. 23, 2021 Miami – Retired Col. Paul Richard Wirth, U.S. Army, passed away at 92 on Dec. 23, 2021. Wirth was born in Central Hershey, Cuba (now known as Camilo Cienfuegos),... View Obituary & Service Information
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Col. Paul Richard Wirth, U.S. Army, Ret.
June 5, 1929 – Dec....
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