In Memoriam

School remembers beloved teacher


Losing someone is hard. When Mr. Jirele died Saturday, Sept. 21, a friend, mentor, fan, and teacher was lost. The important thing to remember in situations like this is he will always live on in our memories. While it’s natural and understandable to want to mourn over this loss, I think what we need to do is celebrate his life. What better way to celebrate his life than by sharing with each other all of the ways he touched our lives?

One of my favorite memories of Jirele was when he was subbing for my advisory teacher my junior year. He pulled out a chair, hunkered down, and became part of the gang. With the approaching prom date looming over the upperclassmen’s heads, he tried to sooth us by telling of his personal experiences. The story ended up being 15 minutes of us laughing as he told us how every one of his prom dates turned into nuns shortly after going out with him.

He ended the story by saying “I suppose they figured after going out with me, there wasn’t much else to live for.”

Jirele would be prepped and ready to go at any hour. Whether it was eight in the morning or three in the afternoon, he radiated energy. He would always be standing at the front of the classroom with a smile on his face, a T-shirt supporting some sport neatly tucked into a pair of slacks, and sporting a spiffy pair of tennis shoes. At the beginning of each class Jirele would try to relate the topic into something we could connect to. The class would inwardly groan good-naturedly, but it was interesting to hear his accounts of his family’s living through the Great Depression (Jirele was born in 1940, shortly after the Great Depression ended).

He would always give us pep talks, saying how we should try our best and be anything we wanted to be. Jirele had a connection with everyone he talked to. When he talked to you, you couldn’t help to feel like you were special. This sentiment is shared by many, including Mr. Jeffrey who has known Jirele since he was in third grade. We usually ended up spending more time chatting than on the actual curriculum. By the end of the class my childhood dreams of being an astronaut were revived, and the future was bright and promising.

Jirele will be sorely missed by the whole community, but I know he is watching over us with a smile on his face.



Funeral services for Orrie Jirele of Albert Lea, Minn. were held at 11 a.m. Thursday, Sept. 26, 2013 at St. Theodore Catholic Church in Albert Lea, Minn. Father Timothy T. Reker and Deacon Mike Ellis will officiate. Visitation was held Wednesday evening from 4 until 7 PM at the Bonnerup Funeral Service and one hour prior to the service at the church. Private Interment was in St Theodore Catholic Cemetery.

Orrie died Saturday evening, September 21, 2013. He was 73 years of age.

Orrie was born May 14, 1940 in Austin, MN, the son of Ed and Rita (Bellrichard) Jirele. He attended St Augustine School and graduated from Pacelli High School where he played basketball. He then attended St Bonaventure College in Olean, New York. Orrie then spent one year out of college working for the Hormel Company while attending Penn State in 1964. He returned to Minnesota to join his family and his love of hunting and fishing. Orrie taught Math at Pacelli High School in Austin where he met his wife Marie. They were married July 31, 1965.

Together they moved to Rochester and Lourdes High School where he coached varsity basketball to three state championships. After three years they moved to Green Bay, WI, and taught Math and coached basketball where he gave us five exciting years. In 1973 they returned with their family to Albert Lea where he coached and was a counselor at Albert Lea High School for 15 years and continued to be a counselor until his retirement.

Orrie was very involved with the community and played violin in two community orchestras. He was an active member of St Theodore Catholic Church and served on church council and was a trustee.

Orrie is survived by his wife Marie of Albert Lea, MN, children David and his wife Jessica of Eden Prairie, MN, Ted and his wife Cynthia Froid of Minneapolis, MN, Pat and his wife Ann of Chaska, MN. Grandchildren whom he gave so much of his time and love include Alex, Andrea, Anthony, Abrielle, Samuel, Edward, Wallace, Megan, Grace and Ryan. Sister Cleo (Tom) Grebin of Austin, MN, brothers Allan (Mary) Jirele of Wahpeton, ND, Neil Jirele of Austin, MN,, brothers in law Clark Bower, Douglas (Bev) Bower, Peter (Elisa) Bower and sister in law Carol (Lars) Larson.

He was preceded in death by his parents and brother Edward Jirele.

He touched so many hearts and will be dearly missed. – See more at: