LtCol Edward Kenneth Kirby USMC (ret), 81, Franklin, VA
Lt. Col. Edward Kenneth Kirby, U.S. Marine Corps, retired, 81, died Saturday, February 25, 2006. He was born December 11, 1924 to Edward Joseph and Vivian Smith Kirby in Waterbury, Conn. In 1944, at the end of WWII, Lt. Col. Kirby began his military career. Upon completing officer candidate training, he became a Marine Corps pilot. He met his wife, the former Madeline Patricia Sebasky, of Westville, Ill. in Osaka, Japan, where she was assigned as an Air Force flight nurse and he was with the Marine's Black Sheep Squadron. They married in 1952 and danced together for 53 years. Early in their marriage, Ken taught flying and evasive maneuvers at Pensacola, Fla. He later added two tours of duty in Korea as a Corsair fighter pilot, was an intelligence officer in the Pacific and at the Pentagon, led a Peacekeeper tour in the Middle East, commanded the Flying Tigers helicopter squadron from 1964 to 1966, and led a helicopter command off the USS Shadwell during the Vietnam War. While on active duty, he graduated from the University of Maryland. Lt. Col Kirby received numerous awards during his career including the following military decorations: Bronze Star, Distinguished Flying Cross with seven clusters, two Presidential Unit Citations, WWII Victory Medal, Korean Presidential Unit Citation, Korean Service Medal with two clusters, United Nations Service Medal and the Air Gallantry Medal with Silver Wing. He retired from the military in 1970 and acted as senior advisor to U.S. Representative William Whitehurst, while serving as president of Jimbo Jumbo's Peanut Company in Edenton, N.C. After a well-traveled military life, he set his permanent roots down in Capron, Va., where he established a family farm, became a leader in the Knights of Columbus at St. Jude's Catholic Church and served as president of the Capron Ruritan Club. He is survived by his beloved wife, Madeline; four daughters, Kathleen A. and husband, Larry Maitland, of Richmond, Maureen K. Leister of Chester, Patricia E. Kirby of Petersburg, and Colleen M. and husband, Lt. Col. John Paul Ruffner, of Virginia Beach; and son, Kevin G. Kirby and wife, Bonnie, of Petersburg; 13 grandchildren, Brandon and Kirby Maitland, Matthew, Alexander, Samantha and Rachel Leister, R. Gabriel Castillo, Tyler and Bryce Kirby, Philip, Kirsten, Haley and Preston Ruffner; his brother, Donald E. Kirby of New Port Richey, Fla.; his sister, Barbara J. Salter of Indialantic, Fla.; and his best friend of 62 years, Thomas Pappas of Chicopee Falls, Mass. The family will receive friends at Wright Funeral Home, Franklin, Va., Wednesday at 6:30 p.m., followed by a rosary at 7:30 p.m. A Mass of the Resurrection will be held Thursday, March 2, 11 a.m., at St. Jude's Catholic Church, Franklin, Va. The family will receive friends at the church following mass and suggests memorials be made to Capron Rescue Squad, P.O. Box 128, Capron, Va. 23829 or the Petersburg Rescue Squad, 5711 River Road, Petersburg, Va. 23803.