Cover photo for Art Hirning's Obituary
Art Hirning Profile Photo

Art Hirning

d. September 17, 2023

Art Hirning

After a 4-year fight with cancer we believe it pleased almighty God to summon from life to Himself in heaven, the soul of Arthur J Hirning, in the early hours of September 17, 2023. 
Art was born in the small town of Hague, North Dakota, the third son of John and Lydia Hirning. At an early age, the family relocated to Rupert, Idaho. In Rupert, Art grew up with his brothers and sister working with their mother at local farms weeding and hoeing beets as well as digging potatoes to support the family. It was Art’s mother’s work ethic that influenced him as a young boy and taught him the value of hard work.
The family relocated to Hazelton, Idaho when John Hirning, Art’s father, had an opportunity to manage a lumber yard there. After about a year the family returned to Rupert where John began his own lumber yard and Lydia operated a café that Art and his siblings all helped at by doing prep work in the kitchen. As a teenager, Art continued working at the local farms but also in a local automotive body shop. It is most likely that the early experience fixing cars is what infatuated him with the ‘car bug.’ He graduated from Minidoka High School in 1955. Art and his two older brothers joined The National Guard in 1956. As a young man Art had several different jobs after high school including, brakeman for the Union Pacific railroad, lineman for Idaho Power, and body and fender repairs as well as bartending on weekends. 
It was while bartending at a club in Twin Falls that he met the love of his life, Claira Knopp during a celebration of her graduation from nursing school in Pocatello, Idaho. He told the story several times that it was love at first sight for him but not so much for her. He also said it took him 6 months of ‘selling’ her on the fact that he loved her and wanted to marry her before she finally agreed to do so. Art and Claira were married on November 29, 1957, and were blessed with 62 years of marriage before her passing in 2019. Together, Art and Claira created a family of three children: Lane (1958), Kelly (1960), and Stephanie (1964). 
When Art realized he could make a living wearing a white shirt and tie and make friends by helping people buy the car they wanted he was hooked! He accepted a position with Theisen Motors in Twin Falls selling Lincoln and Mercury brands and was promoted to new car manager. When one of his friends bought the Buick Oldsmobile dealership, Art joined him as the new car manager. In 1966 he moved to Boise to explore the mobile home business. When that did not work as anticipated he opened his own used car lot on Chinden Boulevard. In 1968 a District Manager for Buick told him about an opportunity in Idaho Falls managing a Buick GMC dealership. Art took that job and was very successful but always hoped to one day have his own dealership. In 1982 Paul Hill contacted Art and gave him the opportunity to purchase Paul’s Pontiac Cadillac GMC in Pocatello. This was the start of Hirning Automotive which is owned and operated by the Hirning family today. 
The only thing more important to Art than the car business was his family. In 2000 our mother convinced him that he did not need to work full time and he entrusted the daily operations of the dealership to his son, Kelly. Art and Claira then started spending the next 18 years traveling, enjoying summers in Island Park, Idaho, and winters in Arizona. They mostly enjoyed time doing what they liked best, being grandpa and grandma to their nine grandchildren.
Island Park, Idaho became a new home for them over the years so they purchased land there and created what would jokingly be referred to as the “Hirning RV Park.” After a few years of camping in their motorhome they longed for a more permanent abode and began construction on a second home on the same property. Many years were enjoyed at the cabin by the entire family- fishing, trips into Yellowstone Park, and visiting West Yellowstone and enjoying snow mobile trips to witness the beautiful winter landscapes of the surrounding area.
Dad always enjoyed trout fishing with his kids and grandkids in Idaho and salmon fishing opportunities in Washington and Oregon over the years. In his later years he especially enjoyed a yearly journey to Alaska with his sons for some great salmon and halibut fishing, something he really missed this year. Art’s other hobbies included pheasant hunting and spending time with his beloved labradoodle ‘Jack.’
Art was known by many people, as a father, grandfather, brother, uncle, mentor, boss, and friend, just to name a few. For those that knew Art, you were always certain where you stood with him. Always quick to start up a conversation and find ways to relate to those he spoke with, especially his grandchildren. He loved his wife; he loved his family, and he loved God.
He leaves to mourn his passing, two sons, Drs. Lane (Patrice) Hirning, Nampa, Idaho and Kelly (Kimberly) Hirning, Pocatello, Idaho and one daughter, Stephanie Earl, Flagstaff, Arizona;  grandchildren, Drs. Andrew (Rozan) Hirning, Boston, Massachusetts, Steven (Cidne) Hirning, Salt Lake City, Utah, Matthew Hirning, Isla Vista, California, Chris (Angela) Hirning, Bothell, Washington, Sarah (Blake) Bekken, Salt Lake City, Utah, Ashley Hirning, Boise, Idaho, Anna Hirning, Boise, Idaho, Jacob Earl, Phoenix Arizona, Sofia Earl, Flagstaff, Arizona and one great-grandson, Luca Hirning, Bothell, Washington. Also surviving Art are three sisters-in-laws, Jeannie Hirning, Lynnwood Washington, Valerie Hirning, Fresno, California, and Pam Hirning, San Diego, California as well as numerous nephews and nieces. Art was preceded in death by his wife, Claira, his parents, brothers, Melvin, Chris, Ervin, and sister Arlene. 
The Hirning family would like to thank the medical professionals and community at Portneuf Cancer Center, Portneuf Medical Center, Heritage Home Health and Hospice, Gateway Transitional Care Center, Caring Hearts in Home Care, and Shaver’s and Maag Pharmacies for the exceptional care Art received over the last four years. We would especially like to thank Art’s special helpers who helped and encouraged him while living independently in his home up until the last few weeks of his life, Grace Lutheran Barnabas Ministry Team, Norma, Allison, and Julie and all the thoughtful neighbors of Pebble Lane. We are especially grateful for the time he got to spend with his friend, Dr. Jim Trost.
Private interment was arranged by Manning Wheatley Funeral Home. There will be a public Memorial and Celebration of Life Service honoring Art and his Victory in Christ at 11:30am on Saturday, October 21, at Grace Lutheran Church in Pocatello. In lieu of flowers, please consider a donation to The American Cancer Society via his tribute page at: https://raiseyourway.donordrive.com/campaign/Art-Hirning-Cancer-Research-Fund

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Saturday, October 21, 2023

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