Donald Richard Tirk, retired teacher and principal from the Tahoma School District in Washington State, passed away April 15, 2012, following a valiant fight with cancer. He is survived by his wife, Suzanne; his two daughters, Peggy and Millicent; four siblings, Dolores Mullen of San Diego, CA, Allan of Long Prairie, MN, Jean of Kansas City, MO, and Joe of Kingsville, MO; and also many nieces and nephews. He was preceded in death by his parents, Nels and Frances Tirk. Don was born July 19, 1935 in Unity, Saskatchewan, Canada. He spent his first ten years growing up amidst an enclave of German-speaking relatives, many of whom had emigrated following WWI from Odessa, Russia. Don shared many colorful stories about growing up on the prairies of Saskatchewan, where he attended a one-room schoolhouse outside Unity. In 1945, Dons family purchased a farm and moved to Barnesville, Minnesota. Don graduated from Barnesville High School in 1955. Don always has been grateful to the town of Barnesville, where so many community members provided the guidance and support he needed during his adolescence. His success is testament to the very premises of It Takes A Village . Don attended Moorhead State University and was drafted into the U.S. Army. He served honorably as an air defense specialist, based at Fort Lawton in Seattle. In 1958, Don married his high school sweetheart and Concordia College graduate, Suzanne Solum. He completed his army tour in 1961 and then resumed his undergraduate work, graduating in 1963. Later that year, both Don and Suzanne were hired as teachers for the Tahoma School District in Maple Valley, Washington. Don taught physical education, health, and industrial arts for 15 years. He also coached football and developed a successful wrestling program. Don pursued a Masters in School Administration from NDSU and was principal at Tahoma Jr. High until his retirement in 1990. Don was dedicated to his profession and enjoyed mentoring students, supporting his hard-working teachers and staff, and working with parents and the community during 27 years in education, always demonstrating the highest of standards. Dons greatest priorities were his love and devotion to family and loyalty to friends. He was a champion for youth and the importance of education, enjoyed gardening, travel, fishing, tinkering with old tractors and trucks, all things John Wayne and Clint Eastwood, spending summers at Pelican Lake, and was an avid Husky fan. Don will be truly missed and forever remembered. A memorial service will be held at 1:00 pm Saturday, July 21st at Our Saviors Lutheran Church in Barnesville, MN. In lieu of flowers, memorials may be sent in his name to the Roger Maris Cancer Center of Fargo, Our Saviors Lutheran Church of Barnesville, or The American Cancer Society.