Deborah “Deb” Hardin Quirk passed away at her home in Hastings, Nebraska, on June 19, 2023. She was 72.
Deb was born in Hastings on July 30, 1950, to Bob and Marge Hardin. She graduated from Hastings High School in 1968. While in high school, she hosted her own radio show on KHAS Radio and was the youngest person in Hastings to earn a radio engineers license. She also worked in the announcer’s booth for American Legion Baseball games at Duncan Field.
Deb went on to the University of Denver where she earned Phi Beta Kappa honors and a Bachelor’s Degree in Mass Communications in 1972. She then earned a Master’s Degree in Journalism from Medill. While at DU, she reactivated the Kappa Delta Sorority chapter and later served as an alumni advisor to the chapter at Northwestern.
Deb returned to Hastings in 1973 to serve as the Development Director for Central Community College in Hastings and later as the Communications Director for the Central Community College system in Grand Island.
She was passionate about serving the community. She served two terms on the Adams Central School Board and took pride in her work as the chair of the building committee during the planning and construction of the new gymnasium in the early 2000s. She also served on the Hastings Planning Commission. She was a long-time member of Business and Professional Women, and served a term as the statewide President. She was also a member of the Fortnightly Study Group and the Torch Club.
Linked to her dedication to public service was her lifelong engagement with politics. In 1976, Deb was working on a local city council campaign when her oldest sister, Penny, suggested she seek advice from John Quirk, who was volunteering on Jimmy Carter’s presidential campaign. She did. Their candidates both won election, and they both remained involved in politics throughout their lives, with Deb serving as State Chair of the Democratic Party in the mid-1990s. Just two days before she passed, Deb attended one final meeting of local Democrats in Hastings.
More importantly, politics brought Deb and John together for a lifelong partnership. They were engaged July 7, 1977, (7/7/77) and married on New Year’s Eve that year. Their son, Andrew Robert “Rob,” was born in 1985. For more than 40 years, Deb worked alongside John at Quirk Land & Cattle Co., first maintaining the cattle records and ultimately as the office manager.
Deb was an avid golfer. She served on the Lochland Country Club board and was a leader in the women’s golf association where she served as a tireless advocate for women’s golf. Deb was a dedicated fan of all sports — particularly football and any women’s sport. On Saturdays and Sundays throughout the fall, she could always be found watching a game, especially the Huskers on Saturday and the Denver Broncos on Sunday.
Survivors include her son Andrew Robert “Rob” Quirk of Brooklyn, New York; her sister, Su (Hardin) Ryden, and her husband, Jerome Ryden, of Aurora, Colorado; a brother, Mike Hardin, and his wife, Margaret Hardin, of Aurora, Colorado; a sister-in-law, Mary Quirk, and her husband, Jim Anderson, of Minneapolis, Minnesota; and numerous nieces, nephews, grandnieces and nephews.
She was preceded in death by her parents; her sister, Penny Hardin; and her husband, John Quirk.