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David Paul Hirvela

David Paul Hirvela

October 26, 1941 - September 22, 1993

David Hirvela completed his BA in English at the University of Michigan in Ann Arbor in 1963. His teaching career began at Franklin High School in Livonia, Michigan. Continuing his life long love of learning, he completed his MA in speech at the University of Michigan in 1967. He received his Ph.D. in theatre in 1971 from the University of Wisconsin. During his graduate years in Madison, he performed frequently with the Wisconsin Players and Madison Repertory Theatre, and recorded performances for Radio Nederlander and National Public Radio's Earplay. His most treasured UW production was Chekov's The Three Sisters under the distinguished direction of Margaret Webster.

He was assistant professor of theatre at the University of Cincinnati from 1971 to 1978. During his years at UC, he served as secretary and president of the Ohio Theatre Alliance and as a board member of the American Theatre Association, and as judge for many of the association festivals. He acted in and directed productions on the Showboat Majestic and was host of Theatre Cincinnati on WGUC FM from1973-78. David was the recipient of a National Endowment for the Humanities grant in 1976. He performed in national television and radio commercials. From 1978 to 1980 he was artistic and managing director of the Madison Repertory Theatre, where he acted, stage directed and oversaw the company's move to its new home in the Madison Civic Center. He was a board member and vice president of the Dane County Arts Council. For the academic year 1980-81, David was Chairman of the theatre department at Central Michigan University, at Mount Pleasant.

From 1981 to 1992, David was associate professor of theatre at Iowa State University. He taught acted in and directed theatre productions and served as professor-in-charge of the department of theater. As Director of Theatre for 10 years he led the theatre program to new levels of excellence and artistic integrity. During his tenure at Iowa State University, he wrote a book on arts appreciation and cultural awareness. He acted in and directed productions with the Colorado Shakespeare Festival, Wisconsin Shakespeare Festival and Actor's Repertory Theatre in Las Vegas, Nevada. He served on panels for the Iowa Arts Council, Association for Theatre in Higher Education, Speech Communication Association, and Mid America Theatre Conference. David was a member and chair of the Ames Commission on the Arts.

David was untiringly committed to the highest standards in education and encouraging students and colleagues to pursue their dreams to realization.

Books by this Author

The Performing Arts by David Hirvela
Kendall/Hunt Publishing Company, October 1, 1989 Paperback


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03/01/09 08:10 PM #1    

Bette Jo Waddington (Dedic)

David was a wonderful guy. I only had contact with him in grade school but he was a lot of fun at the time. He is missed.
Bette Jo Waddington Dedic

04/15/09 10:50 PM #2    

Linda Stultz (Tucker)

It's interesting how the mere mention of a name can bring a face directly into your mind, or you can have a total blank, and know you must look at the senior picture in The BLAZER for help!!! Not so at all when the name David Hirvela comes to me. Immediately his face and personality are front and center in my mind. David was smart, personable and gifted. I'm sorry we lost him so young. He had much to share, and I'm sure he did too.

06/22/10 09:16 AM #3    

Natalie H. Heaney (Beltrami)

I was very fond of David, and I am so sorry that I lost contact with him.  We shared a lot of common interests.  What a wonderful voice he had!  It is uplifting to read about his wonderful rich life.  He truly made his passion his profession.  How many of us have been so fortunate?  It is the quality of the journey, not the length, that counts.  Bravo, David. 

07/08/20 01:00 PM #4    

Linda Stultz (Tucker)

I think David would be happy his class shared his brother's successful life as well as we did his, so proudly. 

Hirvela, Harold 1/8/1932 - 5/16/2020 Canton On Saturday, May 16, 2020, Harold J. Hirvela, loving father, brother, and grandfather, passed away peacefully at the age of 88 in Canton, Michigan. Harold was born in Detroit and spent his entire life living and working in the southeast Michigan area. He graduated from Redford High School in 1950. He was a veteran of the United States Army Signal Corps and was stationed in Alaska during the Korean War. He graduated from Wayne State University in 1958 with a Bachelor of Science degree in Business/Accounting. He worked as an accountant for the Austin Building Company, Chrysler Corp, Avis Industrial Corp, Miller Laundry Machinery, and the King-Seeley Thermos Co. However, much of his career was spent with KMS Fusion Inc in Ann Arbor, Michigan, where he was the Controller and Head of Accounting. In addition, he did consulting work and personal accounting for many clients. He was passionate about numbers and being accurate. Away from work, Harold was a lifetime Lutheran. He loved going to the movies frequently, reading books, attending theater, volunteering, and jogging. His favorite hobby was golf and anything related to it-playing, attending tournaments, and watching it on the weekends. He was a lifelong fan of the Detroit Tigers and the University of Michigan. He was proud of his Finnish heritage and lived his life with Sisu - a Finnish term for determination, resilience, bravery, and toughness. He is preceded in death by his parents, Arne Hirvela and Marie Hirvela; as well as his brother, David Hirvela. He is survived by his loving family: his children John Hirvela, Matthew Hirvela, and Susan (Hirvela) Vertin whom he shared with former spouse Patricia Jones; his grandchildren Noah, Maxwell, Samuel, Weston, Benjamin, Ava, and Natalie; his daughter-in-law Melanee Hirvela and son-in-law Derek Vertin; and his brother Arnie Hirvela and sister-in-law Corrine Hirvela. He is also remembered with love by his niece, nephews, cousins, and lifelong friends. Later this year, Harold's life will be celebrated at a memorial service. Date, time and location will be announced in advance. In lieu of flowers, please consider making a donation to the Alzheimer's Association in Harold's honor at www.alz.org.

07/09/20 12:04 PM #5    

Laurie Gossett (Randall)

I remember David from high school and UofM . As an English major and teacher of English graduating the same year, we would have shared some classes .

David's advanced degrees and experiences in theater and teaching theater at the University level are impressive. That is not an easy career path. Theater at any level is highly competitive , and at the University level, requires a portfolio of accomplishment in writing, acting, directing, and teaching. 

I am reminded that RHS provided an excellent education and foundation for college prep, especially in English. I appreciated being able to read and write well as a Freshman at UofM, and tried to instill that confidence in my high school or University students. One thing I found was that having had good teachers helped me to be a better teacher. Sounds like David Hervela built on that foundation as well. 




07/10/20 09:52 PM #6    

Barbara J. Beatty (Moebs)

I remember David from grade school and his voice. He was very nice with a great sense of humor. It is funny how some people stickout in your mind like that when you hear their name. So interesting to see what his brother wrote about him and to learn about his life.

07/11/20 04:21 PM #7    

Ann Leavengood (Guthrie)

David and I served on The Outpost staff our junior and senior years.  I remember him as very conscientious and with a great sense of humor.  Writing and editing articles to meet monthly deadlines could sometimes be stressful.  David, as Editor in Chief,  always added a note of humor to the situation and made it easier for the rest of us.

07/13/20 12:59 PM #8    

Dale Fatland

I did not know Dave but, it sounds like he had quite a few accomplishments and rewarding life but am surprised he passed over 27 yrs. ago - if that's correct..

NOTE - To Ann - could you please email me.




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