Bill Hirsch of Breckenridge dies at 92
Ryan Summerlin May 10, 2012
World War II veteran, amateur impersonator and long-time Breckenridge character Bill Hirsch died Wednesday of natural causes at the age of 92, the Summit County coroner confirmed.
The nonagenarian and 15-year local died at his daughter’s home in Breckenridge. He had an extensive medical history.
Hirsch, who served in the U.S. Navy during World War II, died on Victory Day, which this year marked the 67th anniversary of Nazi Germany’s surrender to the Soviet Union.
Hirsch was raised in New York and attended Georgia Tech in Atlanta, where he earned a degree in architecture. Following graduation, he received a commission from the Navy to serve with U.S. forces in World War II.
“It was another adventure,” he told the Summit Daily in an interview in 2011.
Hirsch was assigned to a photo intelligence unit in the Navy and was soon deployed to the South Pacific, where he was charged with identifying enemy aircraft and trying not to become irate when unfriendly fire interrupted his lunch.
“The Japanese would bomb us every day at lunch, which kind of made me angry,” Hirsch said.
Despite a few close calls during the war, he would later say he believed he was destined to survive.
When the war ended, Hirsch used his GI bill to spend 10 months in France studying architecture and art.
He returned to the U.S. and moved to California where he resumed his career as an architect and started a new one as a voice-over impersonator. He made an album impersonating President John F. Kennedy.
In the 1990s, a downturn in the economy and a reduction in the availability of government contracts brought Hirsch and his second wife, Sara, to Breckenridge.
Hirsch was an active member of the community, physically and socially. A fixture at the Breckenridge Recreation Center, he walked a mile around the upper track every day into his 90s. He also appeared in local theater productions including “Guys and Dolls,” and helped his wife at her needlepoint shop, Sara’s of Breckenridge.
Hirsch has been profiled in the Summit Daily several times, once last year in a feature, and also in a about local veterans.
This story will be updated.