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Remembrance of the Life of Eileen Wirtz CoL

Posted on June 1, 2021, by Eleanor Craig SL

Eileen Wirtz CoL
Apr. 14, 1927 – June 1, 2021

Loretto Co-member Eileen Loretto Wirtz passed away peacefully on June 1, 2021, in Overland Park, Kan.  In the 14th  year of her Loretto commitment, she was capping a lifetime as a high school student, college graduate, teaching colleague, and parent with the Sisters of Loretto. She attended high school at Loretto Academy in Kansas City, Mo., and earned her teaching degree at Webster University in St. Louis. After she graduated from Webster, she taught English at Loretto Academy and made many friends among her students.

Eileen was 94 years old. She was born on April 14, 1927, to Robert and Frances Feeney. She shared many stories over the years of what it was like to grow up during the Depression with her two brothers, John R. and Ed, and her sister Ginny. It is a happy thought to think of this family reunion in heaven. Eileen was a lifelong member of St. Francis Xavier Parish in Kansas City, Mo., attending grade school, church and making many friends.

In 1951, Eileen married Vic Wirtz, and they had eight children of whom she was very proud: Pat (Mary Maasen), Steve (Maureen Aylward), Carol Ann (Mike Hilboldt)–who was also a Loretto graduate, Bob, David, Jim (Rachel Madrigal), Charlie (Cate Bridenbach), and Ann Marie (Dennis O’Brien). Eileen has 21 grandchildren and 9 great-grandchildren. She enjoyed her family a great deal and loved to take her kids and grandkids to her favorite places: Loretto Academy, Webster University, Roaring River State Park, Andre’s, The Nelson Art Gallery, Aixois and the Missouri Repertory Theater.

To satisfy her interest in communications, Eileen volunteered in many organizations over the years. Among her favorites were Women in Communications and The Hospitalized Veterans Writing Project. Years ago, Eileen gave each of her children a plaque that said, “God danced the day you were born.” That is how she looked at life, and that is how she wanted us to see it.


Eleanor Craig SL

Eleanor has been a Sister of Loretto since 1963 and an educator since birth. She graduated from two of Loretto's best known St. Louis institutions, Nerinx Hall High School in 1960, and Webster University in 1967. She taught mathematics at Loretto in Kansas City, where her personal passion for adventure history inspired her to develop and lead treks along the historic Oregon Trail. From 1998 to 2010 she created an award-winning program of outdoor adventure along the Western trails for teens who are visually impaired. Eleanor claims to have conducted more wagon trains to the West than the Mountain Men! From 2012 to 2021, Eleanor led a talented staff of archivists and preservationists at the Loretto Heritage Center on the grounds of the Motherhouse. She recently retired, but still serves in the Heritage Center as Loretto Community Historian.

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