August 31, 2022 at 5:56 p.m.

Michael T. Zirbes

Michael T. Zirbes
Michael T. Zirbes


Michael T. “Mike” Zirbes, age 76 of Sauk Centre, passed away unexpectedly from a farm accident on Monday, Aug. 29, 2022 at the CentraCare Hospital in Melrose.

A Mass of Christian Burial will be held at 10 a.m. Friday, Sept. 2 at St. Paul’s Catholic Church in Sauk Centre with Rev. Greg Paffel officiating and Rev. Jim Maderak concelebrating. Interment will be in the parish cemetery with military honors by the Sauk Centre United Veterans Honor Guard.

Visitation will be from 4-7 p.m. Thursday and from 9-9:45 a.m. in the gathering area of the church in Sauk Centre.

Michael Theodore Zirbes was born Nov. 18, 1945, in Melrose, to Hubert and Mildred (Nathe) Zirbes. He served in the United States Army from 1965-67 and was proud to be a Vietnam vet. On Aug. 10, 1968, he married LaVonne “Vonnie” Schwinghammer at Seven Dolors Catholic Church in Albany. After their marriage, the couple farmed the family farm 5 miles east of Sauk Centre and later purchased the farm. They retired from farming in 2001 and moved to town. Their son, Eric, took over the farm, becoming the 5th generation on the century farm. After retirement, you couldn’t take the farm out of Mike. He continued helping his son with the fieldwork and other farming tasks. He also enjoyed hunting, fishing, playing cards, especially Cribbage, and telling stories, including hunting and dirt bike stories, around the campfire.

Mike was a member of St. Paul’s Catholic Church in Sauk Centre, Queen of Peace General Assembly, 4th Degree Knights of Columbus, past Grand Knight of Bishop Busch Council #4863 Knights of Columbus, American Legion Post 67 and the Paul F. Donart VFW Post 2853. He was instrumental on the Divine Mercy Committee and devoted his time praying at the Adoration Chapel at St. Paul’s Catholic Church. 

Survivors include his wife, Vonnie Zirbes, of Sauk Centre; children, Paula (Brad) Chapulis of Baxter, Chad (Bobbi) Zirbes of Melrose, Eric (Carla) Zirbes of Melrose and Brian (Justine) Zirbes of New Hope; 13 grandchildren, Gabi and Violet Chapulis, Vinnie, Jordan (Alyssa) and Rebecca Zirbes, Makayla Zirbes, Cody and Cassidy Busche, Laramie Zirbes and Carter, Axel, Ruby and Hazel Zirbes; sister, Judy (Bert) Berscheid of Grey Eagle; and brother, Mark Zirbes of St. Cloud.

Mike was preceded in death by his parents; and five little angels in heaven.

Serving as casket bearers will be Vinnie, Jordan, Carter, Axel and Makayla Zirbes and Gabi Chapulis. Cross bearer will be Violet Chapulis, scripture bearer will be Rebecca Zirbes and Wheat bearers will be Cody Busche and Laramie Zirbes. Readers will be Jeff Zirbes and Marlene Schwinghammer, O.S.B. Gift bearers will be Ruby Zirbes and Hazel Zirbes and Cassidy Busche. The eulogy will be read by Brian Zirbes.

In lieu of flowers, memorials are preferred to St. Scholastica Convent in St. Cloud or Poor Clares Monastery in Sauk Rapids.

Arrangements were made with Patton-Schad Funeral & Cremation Services of Sauk Centre. H-35-1B


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