Edward Allison Kirkby, 84, of Marion died of respiratory failure on September 30, 2021. He was born in Lansing MI to Delphin and Susan (Dougherty) Kirkby in 1937. Overcoming difficult circumstances and learning disabilities, he graduated from Sexton High School in 1955 and Michigan State in 1959 with majors in mathematics and geology. In 1962, while working for the Michigan Conservation Department and conducting a geology field trip, he met the love of his life Barbara Bontekoe, a teaching student at CMU, and they married in 1963. Barb was instrumental in the master’s degree that he obtained, supportive of his other endeavors and tolerant of his dogs.
Ed and Barb moved to Marion in 1968 to pursue self employment with Kirkby Manufacturing. He also worked at Dart Oil & Gas and ultimately had his dream employment inspecting oil wells throughout northern Michigan at the Michigan Department of Environmental Quality, accumulating a total of 24 years in state service.
Ed was a people person. He deeply valued the people he came to know as he served on the Osceola County Board of Commissioners for over two decades, including many committees and Public Health, Mental Health, and SixCap Inc. boards. In retirement he volunteered in the Marion High School wood shop classes.
Dad loved his family and expressed being part of a family was most important to him in his final days. He enjoyed walking, writing folksy newspaper columns in earlier years and long letters and family history in later years, reading many newspapers, driving Model-Ts with the Crankun’ T’s Club, and the companionship of his dogs who lived long lives thanks to being well loved. He had an extraordinary memory for people and events and sometimes didn’t let the facts get in the way of a good story. He drove for seventy years, never receiving a ticket though he probably merited some. He had a playful caring side, mailing white mice and rock specimens to younger cousins and later in life faithfully taking his dog through the drive through for a breakfast sandwich.
He is survived by daughter Codee(Alex) Kirkby Janusz, granddaughters Barbara and Adena and son Del (Betsy) Kirkby and grandchildren Bobby, Emma, Vanessa, Ryan, Harmony, Rachelle and Allyson. Brothers David (Judy) and George (Sharron). In-laws John(Sue) Schwartz, Pete(Pam) Bontekoe and Brenda (Bo) Widman.
Ed was preceded by wife Barbara in 2013, daughter-in-law Melody, sister Sara (Alice), niece Amanda, parents, in-laws Pete and Gertrude Bontekoe, Beverly Schwartz and much loved canine companions Tiger, TigerBurger, Spot, Hi-Fi, Cutie and Kirby.
Visitation will be at the Fosnaught-Holdship Funeral Home in Marion on Friday, October 8 from 2-4 p.m. and 6-8 p.m. A funeral celebrating his life will be held at the Marion United Methodist Church on Saturday, October 9 at 10 a.m. with Rev. Jim Mort officiating. Burial at the Greenwood Cemetery, Marion Township and a luncheon will follow. Having been taught to read by his youngest brother when he was in high school, Ed would appreciate the donation of one or more books to your local public or school library in his memory.
The family is being served by Fosnaught-Holdship Funeral Home.
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