Thyr Eugene Zweifel, age 92, passed away at home on June 22, 2022 in Northridge, California after a long illness. He was the son of Clyde Melvin Zweifel and Zola Froehlich Zweifel. Born August 23, 1929 in Hollenberg, Kansas, he was a product of the prairie land that he grew up and worked on. His love and respect for animals, the land with growing plants and crops and the forces of nature can all be traced back there.
He attended a one room school house during the first years of his education and graduated from Washington High School in 1947, just before that area of the country was wired for electricity. He always remembered what a difference that made to the quality of life of so many.
Although he had been offered a scholarship to college, following high school he worked to help support his family. Times were rough and Thyr worked as a hired hand on farms and then later for the Davey Tree Company that took him to assignments out of state for the first times in his life.
With the coming of the Korean War, he enlisted in the Air Force where he was assigned to be a medic at the Wright Patterson base in Fairborn, Ohio from 1951-1955. There he met a Greek American woman, Patricia Spiros from Dayton, Ohio, the love of his life. They were married in the Greek Orthodox Church there on April 19, 1953. Thyr always joked that he was never sure that he was really married because he was unable to understand the ceremony. Their first daughter, Debra was born at the base in August 1954.
Six months later, Thyr was honorably discharged from the service and moved with his wife and infant daughter to his grandfather’s farm in Waterville, Kansas. His second daughter, Dorene (Dory) was born in 1956 while living there. Following the premature death of his own father in 1957, Thyr and his family moved to his father’s farm in Washington County, Kansas after his mother and much younger sister, Twila moved to Washington. Twin daughters, Denise and Diane were born in 1959 while the family was living there.
In 1960, Thyr and his family moved to Washington, Kansas after he was forced to auction off his farm and farming equipment following two desperate years of crop failures. Although this affected him deeply, he took it in his stride and found work wherever it was available. He soon found a position as an auto mechanic for a local Chevrolet dealership. His youngest daughter, Darice was born while living there in 1961. Although no longer farming, Thyr was known for the beautiful flowers he grew year after year and his garden produce.
For the next three years, he often worked two jobs to support his family. After his eldest daughter was discovered to have a medical condition requiring special treatment not available locally, he and his wife began making regular trips to the K.U. Medical Center in Kansas City, then some 200 miles away, posing a great inconvenience to the family. He began to look for alternative ways to address the situation. The solution presented itself in 1964 when a close high school friend of his returned to Washington for a visit from Los Angeles, California.
Within a few weeks, Thyr sold their home and packed everything he could fit into a U-Haul trailer towed by his 1955 Oldsmobile sedan.
After living in a small rental unit for the first year in Lawndale, California and again finding work at two Chevrolet dealerships as an auto mechanic, Thyr was able to rent a larger home in Inglewood, California after agreeing to make all necessary repairs to the home. The family lived there until 1969, during which time he was able to take up work as a machinist for Western Airlines at the Los Angeles International Airport while continuing an evening mechanic position miles away at a Chevrolet dealership.
In early 1969, Thyr and his family purchased a home in Woodland Hills in the San Fernando Valley where they lived for a number of years. In 1987, following the acquisition of Western Airlines by Delta airlines, Thyr was transferred to Atlanta Georgia and moved there with his wife, where they lived for the next eight plus years. In 1996, they moved to St. George Utah after he retired. He had one daughter, Dory living in the area at the time.
Growing up, his daughters always felt that there was nothing that their dad could not do. He made them feel safe and protected. He built numerous pieces of furniture, repaired the plumbing, worked on their cars and kept them running and grew the most beautiful flowers, fruits and vegetables. He taught us the value of hard work and earning an honest living. He enjoyed learning new things and passed many of his skills to his daughters. He loved his animals and had numerous pets throughout his life. He was kind and strong and took everything in stride. He will always be remembered for his twinkling eyes, his beautiful smile and joyful laugh.
In December 2019, due to problems with his health, Thyr moved to Northridge California to live with his oldest daughter, Debra and son-in-law, Tom. He remained there until his death. He had been widowed since 2010. He taught his family so many things. The most important lesson was to learn to accept what has to happen and to move forward with equanimity and courage and to not keep looking backward. He leaves a wonderful legacy and will live on in the lives of all of his daughters and their families Debra Zweifel-Poehlmann and Tom Poehlmann, Dory Woollard and Danny Miller, Denise and son-in -law Jeff Jaynes, Diane and son-in-law George Sintich and Darice and son-in-law Derek Kiener as well as his grandchildren Joel and Micah Poehlmann, Joshua and Lucas Powell (Denise's sons), Preston Sintich, Jesse Kiener and Rebecca Palm (Kiener), her husband Torsten Palm and two great grandchildren, Tessa and Thaylen Palm.