- About Us
John Samuel KirbyJuly 19, 1964 ~ November 27, 2017 (age 53)
John Samuel Kirby IV, born July 19, 1964 in Clearwater, FL, passed away Monday, November 27, 2017.
John (Jake) was an amazing father to Tyler, Katie, and Spencer, and fiancee to Joan, son to Lynn and Wes, and brother to Chuck and Nanc. Throughout his life, Jake was an avid athlete. He had a deep lifelong passion for cycling, even considering a professional career. In childhood, he roamed all over Orlando on his bike. As an adult, he loved riding the trails of Colorado. When he wasn’t riding the trails, he loved wrestling, squash, swimming, and anything that could take him outdoors. In Colorado, he became part of the lacrosse community and family life centered around attending lacrosse games and tournaments to cheer on his children and express his boundless enthusiasm for competition and love of all sports.
Jake attended Evans High School in Orlando where he was a cheerleader and Home Coming King, the following year his brother (Chuck) became the Evans king, and after graduating, attended Mid-Florida Technical School. He loved cars and anything with moving parts. Jake applied his analytical mind to problem solving. He had a 25 year career with Honeywell International and specialized in fire alarm technology, working first in Orlando and moving to Parker, Colorado in 1998.
Jake is survived by his son, Tyler Kirby (Parker, CO), daughter, Katie Kirby (Fremont, NE), son, Spencer Kirby (Parker, CO), fiancee, Joan Hartwig (Orlando, FL), mother, Lynn Griffith (Blairsville, GA), father, Wes Kirby (Finksburg, MD), sister, Nanc Willis (Davenport, FL) and brother, Chuck Kirby (Cleveland, GA). Jake’s life was abundant with extended family and friends. Jake had a great intellect and curiosity for all things. He will be remembered by his beautiful smile, his kindness and compassion to all, and his sweet soul. He is the best person we ever knew.
Please join us for a celebration of his life. A memorial service will be held on Saturday, December 2, at 1 p.m. at Joy Lutheran Church. 7051 Parker Hills Ct., Parker , Colorado, 80138. A GoFundMe page has been established to support the Kirby family. In lieu of flowers, all donations to honor Jake’s memory can be made by clicking the link and following the directions provided.
Remembrance by Nanc Willis, Jake’s sister:
Memories of my brother
He was born John Samuel, but in the early years, he was Bubba….later on, he liked us calling him Jake instead of Bubba. As he got older and entered the working field, he referred to himself as John, his given name, but he will always be Jake to me.
Jake was born in Clearwater, FL and we lived in and around that area in our younger years. I remember (vaguely) some of our time in the Tampa area. But I think most of those memories are tied to pictures we have from that time…birthday parties, Christmas, the three of us sitting on an inflatable Popeye punching bag. It was so long ago.
At least for me, life seemed to really start for us, once we moved into the Orlando area and we were all living in the one bedroom apartment that Mom had found. When we were really young, the three of us were at our Grandmother’s house and Jake and I convinced our younger brother Chuck that we could get to the honey in the bee hive that was in the knot of a tree, if he stuck a wooden spoon in it and stirred it up. We all ended up with bee stings, but Chuck got it the worst because Jake and I stood behind him and ran off as soon as the spoon started going in. Jake and I got into so much trouble! I recall us walking to daycare and elementary school, and sharing in the open pit cookouts our neighbors would have. The trips to Cocoa beach, and Gatorland…that was before Disney World was ever around. In the summers, the movie theater at the Colonial Plaza mall, would have kid friendly movies during the day and we three kids would walk the mile or so to get there while Mom was at work or go to the YMCA to swim and to hang out. I remember the three of us forming a band…and I use that term very loosely…with Jake’s friend David Bamberg and some other friends…then making our parents pay us sit through a god-awful concert of several songs. There were fun times at our Granny’s house each week and on alternating weekends, where she spoiled us rotten. In early elementary school, he, Chuck and Dad joined the Indian Guides, where they would often go on camping trips and would make things like drums and tomahawks together. As the boys got a little older, and we moved into our first house together, the boys were in the Boy Scouts earning all kinds of badges. Some years we would travel to our Aunt Diane’s family’s house in Tennessee where we got to play in the snow for the first time. With Mom’s help, we made a snow-woman in their front yard (that my Grandmother didn’t approve of!). With the help of our Aunt Diane’s five girls, we reenacted the story of Jesus’s birth…I think Jake was one of the wise men (how appropriate was that?!). The car trips were long with the three of us in the back seat…my gosh, how many times did we play I spy or yell, “Mom, so and so is touching me?”
In junior high school, Jake was involved in just about every sport they had, but it seems like wrestling was the one he really got into….I used to give him so much grief over those wrestling outfits…but those outfits never stopped the girls from falling for him. He later went on to become the Orange County Champion for his weight class.
In high school, Jake continued wrestling for a little while, then later, he tried football, but decided that he could get closer to the girls, and not get hurt, by being a cheerleader. He was so handsome, a true “chick-magnet”! (You wouldn’t believe how many girls tried to be friends with me just to get close to him…it was insane!) Back then, he used to wear the stinky-est cologne, and so much of it! I remember I got used to holding the phone gingerly and away from my face so I didn’t get any of that stink on me from him getting calls all the times from love stuck girls! He even did a little modeling…but decided that wasn’t for him. I will say, my brother may have been handsome, but it was something it didn’t even seem to be aware of.
When my Grandfather passed away, he left Jake his Ford Falcon…I’m not sure of the year, maybe a ’64, but it was old. He loved tooling around town in it and working on it with my Dad. Something Jake and Chuck like to do was go “fishing”…they’d tell my Mom that they were going fishing at the mall…she said, “Fishing? Why are you going to the mall to go fishing?”, and he’d answer back, “We’re going Lady Fishing!” His senior year, Jake was Homecoming King.
Before he got the Falcon, he rode his bike everywhere. In 1979, the movie Breaking Away came out. It t was about a small-town boy obsessed with Italian cycling…Jake was obsessed with that movie, he loved it! He even started calling Dad, Papa, like the kid in the movie did. He was so into biking and the biking community, that Huffy had him testing out a prototype bike…there was even talk of them of naming a bike after him.
Out of high school, he was taking classes at the community college and working long hours. Eventually he started his own business. He married and during his marriage, had three wonderful, beautiful, kind hearted children. He was always hard working…did you know that he got a special exception to start working at the age of 14 at our local Wendy’s? As he started a family, his focus was always working towards making a better life for his family. I remember little things from when they were still in Orlando, like Tyler had a child’s recliner so he and his Dad could watch television together, or the way that he doted on his little princess Katie…and at Christmas time, the lights on the house were always spaced perfectly apart from one another. There were so many lights, and they were so bright…we used to joke that the space shuttle could see it as it passed over Florida. He had a golden retriever named Brandy…he adored that dog, and she adored him! He trained her to fetch his slippers and the newspaper, and she loved doing it.
Once he moved to Colorado, I guess life got in the way for us both. He always seemed to be working long hours, and traveling many miles back and forth to work each day, but I know he was very involved with all three kids and their various activities such as their Lacrosse games and practices. There were the holiday and special occasion phone calls and the very sparse visits (where we got to meet Spencer his little “pal”, who was born after they moved here), so I was ecstatic that these last few years, we were able to reconnect and to start having a closer relationship.
My brother was a kind and selfless man. His thoughts were always for others and their well-being, and not for himself. He would be ecstatic to see you all, but hate all this fuss being made over him.
It’s devastating that this has happened. I’m somewhat comforted to know that he was in a good place in his life. He was happy. He was so proud of his children. They were flourishing and heading down the right paths in their lives, his work life had recently gotten better and less stressful, and, he was madly in love! I’m broken hearted that he never got to marry Joan and start that chapter in his life, but I’m very grateful that she has been in his life these past few years, making him such a happy man!
I know people say it all the time, but make sure you make good use of the time you have with those who are important in your life. You never know how much time you have left with them.