Rick Hirsch, 1965-2016, Texas A&M Extension Agent
By Pearl Cantrell
The News Staff Writer
HENDERSON COUNTY–A beautiful spring day for Henderson County, Sunday was the day County Extension Agent Rick Hirsch died at his residence. All who heard of the longtime extension agent’s death expressed shock and grief. Hircsh, 51, is well-known in East Texas and elsewhere as he dispensed advice and information via a newspaper column, radio show and agricultural clinics, tours and seminars in his 28-year career.
A funeral service is to be held at 10 a.m. Thursday (today) at the First Baptist Church in Athens. located at 1055 S. Carroll Street.
Most recently, he organized a pasture tour, including a location on the shores of Cedar Creek Lake in late March. He served Henderson County from 1992 as its Extension Office Agent on behalf of AgriLife of Texas A & M University.
He is well-known for his support of youth agricultural projects (FFA & 4-H) and its students. The Athens FFA has opened a gofundme page to raise funds for his family. In its first seven hours, nearly $2,000 had been raised. The goal is to raise $25,000.
Terrie Echols writes: “So sorry for your loss. Rick was a great teacher, I learned a lot from taking his class. May God bless and comfort his family and friends.”
The Carroll-Lehr Funeral Home in Athens is overseeing the funeral arrangements. Members of the community are invited to share their stories, photos and remembrances of Rick to comfort the family on its website.
Rick Hirsch is survived by his wife, Bronte, a teacher in the Athens ISD, and three children.
Lorri and Harold Hawkins of Brownsboro state of Hirsch: “He was always there to help the community and especially the young people of Henderson County. Rick will be greatly missed.”
The Henderson County Master Gardeners extend their condolences, adding: “Rick was a respected and wise leader. We will miss his guidance and counsel.”
Chad Coburn, who judged many bovine exhibits with Rick writes: “I’ve had the privilege to judge cattle shows with Rick and serve with him on the Animal Industries Committee. I was shocked to hear the news.”
Gregg County Extension Agent Randy Reeves describes Hirsch as a great mentor. “We will all miss Rick. He was a great mentor to all of us and will be sorrowfully missed. Extension will never be the same with a great friend and co-worker called home.”
Co-worker Jo Petty Smith writes: “From the time I was a kid on the end of a show halter, to the time I was able to call him a co-worker, mentor and more importantly, a friend, I will cherish those memories and the laughs that he was surrounded by. I felt it a great honor to work with him and know him. Extension lost one of its finest agents.”
Among the many accolades and recognitions Hirsch garnered through his successful career, is the County Agent of the Year award bestowed by the Texas & Southwestern Cattlemen’s Association in 2012.
Athens ISD agricultural teacher Jeff Jones summed up best what many recognize on this sad occasion: “Mr. Rick Hirsch was a great friend and an outstanding person. Rick was an iconic figure in Henderson County, a truly good man and someone who helped thousands and thousands of people in our community and across the state of Texas.”