Joseph Henry Shirk
Joseph Henry Shirk

Joseph Henry Shirk and Helen Martha Royse Shirk

     Helen Shirk attended the organizing meeting of the Miami County Red Cross Chapter in August of 1916 unaccompanied.  But at the first meeting in January of 1917 her husband, Joseph Shirk, must have joined her, because he was elected treasurer of the newly formed chapter.   Joseph was a banker who represented large manufacturing and mercantile interests in the area.  He was described as a public-spirited man who was highly thought of by everyone.  Joseph Henry Shirk was born January 6, 1881 in Peru, Indiana and was the son of Milton and Ellen Shirk of Miami County, Indiana.  The prominent Shirk family were all members of the Baptist Church in Peru.  Joseph’s father was the sister of Alice Shirk Edwards, therefore the Shirk family history has previously been addressed.  Joseph attended public school in Peru, Indiana before attending and graduating from Worchester Academy in 1892.   He continued his education at Harvard and graduated from there in 1902.   Following graduation, he returned to Peru to work at the family bank, The First National Bank.  Joseph had dark hair and dark eyes.  On November 16, 1909, Joseph married Helen Martha Royse in Lafayette, Indiana.  She had been born in that city on August 20, 1885 and was the daughter of a merchant.  Joseph and Helen had two daughters and settled into family life in Peru.  Joseph was active in all areas of the community.  He was particularly interested in the YMCA. He was a charter member of the Rotary Club, a member of the University Club in Chicago, the Harvard Club in Chicago, and the Columbia Club in Indianapolis.  He also belonged to district, state and national banking associations.  He became president of the Peru Trust Company.  At age 72, on October 7, 1953, Joseph died suddenly at his home in Peru.  Helen continued on without him for thirteen years.  Then, on February 12, 1966 Helen too passed away.  Their graves are in the Mount Hope Cemetery.

Researched, written and submitted by Mary Rohrer Dexter 

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