Retired shoe store owner Sid Hirsh, 90, dies

Sidney Hirsh, 90, died Dec. 9, 2020.

Sid was born Aug. 22, 1930 in Shamokin, Pennsylvania, to Rose and David Hirsh. David owned a successful shoe store, The Bootery. For health reasons, the family moved to Tucson in 1944. After graduating from Tucson High, Sid attended the University of Washington in Seattle where he pursued a master’s degree in history and met and married his wife, Marsha. In 1954, after his service in the army, they returned to Tucson with their newborn baby, Leslie. His mother, Rose, had just opened a boutique children’s store, Hirsh’s Shoes. Sid began working there to support his growing family that now included two more children, Alan and Jenny. Sid and his brother-in-law, Bud Rosenbluth, eventually took over the business, expanding with five additional stores, offering a diversity of footwear: children’s, women’s fashion, athletic/hiking shoes, and dancewear. A certified pedorthist, Sid was passionate about helping his customers find the right shoes, including those with special needs in nursing homes and care facilities.

Sid was a long-time member of Temple Emanu-El, the Lion’s Club, Tucson Rotary, Arizona Historical Society, Southern Arizona Hiking Club, and the Sierra Club. In addition, he generously supported the arts. Sid and Marsha regularly attended concerts, symphonies, theater, and his first love, opera. Music filled their home, a love and appreciation that was passed onto his children.

A scare with a mild heart attack in the 1960s turned Sid’s life around from being a chain smoker to adopting a healthy lifestyle of diet and exercise. He took the family on hikes in surrounding mountains every Sunday and summer vacations to National Parks. He became an avid hiker, runner and cyclist, competing in marathons around the world and leading Sierra Club backpack trips. On one such trip in Mexico’s Copper Canyon, he met a Tarahumara man who introduced him to fast hiking. “He told us he was going down to the river, have lunch, talk with some friends and come back out that evening. It was about 35 miles. We started to wonder why we were taking four days to do what he did in one day.” This inspired his most famed accomplishment, a rim-to-rim-to-rim hike in the Grand Canyon, which started from the South Rim crossed to the north and then back in one day —a total of 50 miles and 20,000 feet. The event became annual and attracted world-wide attention after being featured in an Arizona Highways article.

Sid will be most remembered for his 62-year legacy at Hirsh’s Shoes, as he liked to say, “Saving soles one foot at a time.” The store has been preserved and is now listed on a register for historic buildings.

Sid was preceded in death by his daughter, Leslie. Survivors include his wife, Marsha; sister, Joan Rosenbluth (Bud); brother, Robert; son, Alan (Sally); daughter, Jennifer (Ed); cousin/daughter, Mary Zinkin (Debby); four grandchildren, and a large circle of cousins, nieces and nephews.

A celebration of Sid’s life will be held at a date to be determined. Memorial contributions may be made to the following organizations: Aaron Shearer Foundation, Center for Trauma Support Services, Arizona Friends of Chamber Music, or a charity of your choice.

Arrangements were made by Evergreen Mortuary and Cemetery.