September 6, 2022 at 5:11 p.m.

Michael T. Zirbes

Michael T. Zirbes
Michael T. Zirbes


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

A Mass of Christian Burial was  Sept. 2 at St. Paul’s Catholic Church in Sauk Centre with the Rev. Greg Paffel officiating. Interment was in the parish cemetery with military honors by the Sauk Centre United Veterans Honor Guard.

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 five 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 fifth 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, 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 were Vinnie, Jordan, Carter, Axel and Makayla Zirbes and Gabi Chapulis. Cross bearer was Violet Chapulis, scripture bearer was Rebecca Zirbes, and wheat bearers were Cody Busche and Laramie Zirbes. Reader was Marlene Schwinghammer, O.S.B. Gift bearers were Ruby Zirbes, Hazel Zirbes and Cassidy Busche. The eulogy, “So God Made a Farmer” by Paul Harvey, was adapted 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.




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