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Obituary: Patrick Thomas Kirby

Obituary: Patrick Thomas Kirby

January 3rd, 2019 in Obituaries
Location: Columbia

Patrick Thomas Kirby, age 75, of Columbia, Mo., passed on Saturay, December 29, 2018, at home, with his loving wife of 28 years, Lucy, at his bedside, after a battle with cancer. Pat was born on September 11, 1943, in Monterey, California. He grew up in Strawberry Point, Iowa, a small town of 1,200, and graduated from high school there in 1961. Pat excelled in all sports in high school and was a class leader. Pat attended the University of Iowa where he received his B.A. degree in 1966 and his Master's degree in 1968. Despite leaving Iowa in 1968, Pat remained a diehard Iowa Hawkeye for life. He was granted a delayed reporting for active duty to as a 2nd lieutenant in the U. S. Army to obtain his doctorate. He then attended U.S. International University (USIU) in San Diego where he received his Ph.D. in 1971. Pat then entered active duty with the U.S. Army and served in the quartermaster corps at Fort Lee, Virginia and was promoted to 1st lieutenant. Upon his honorable discharge from the Army, he went to work in 1973, as the Assistant Dean of Students and assistant professor of psychology at USIU in San Diego. In 1975, he became the Dean of Students at USIU. In a decision that changed Pat's life, and improved and enhanced the lives of so many other fortunate people, particularly college students, Pat accepted the position of Dean of Students at Westminster College in Fulton, Missouri in 1975. Pat held, indeed, embraced that position for 20 years into 1995, and he knew every Westminster student. Most often, Pat was the first representative of Westminster College the new students would encounter and who would become Pat's good friends for life. He knew their backgrounds and their parents. He was devoted to Westminster and of its students. As one Westminster grad recently wrote to Pat: "You invested your life's energy in each and everyone of us." For Pat, the Westminster students, faculty and staff were all members of his family. He treated his friends as his own family, always with kindness, respect and encouragement. There were occasional sad times and tragedies for the students, and Pat provided comfort and compassion for the students and their families. An avid sports fan his entire life, Pat particularly enjoyed serving as the baseball coach at Westminster for one season in the mid-1980s, and often joked that those students all somehow overcame his coaching. Students graduated every year from Westminster, remaining Pat's friends for life. Having known every Westminster student for 20 years, it was natural that in 1995 Pat was asked to become the Director of Alumni and Parent Relations at Westminster, a position he gladly accepted. That position gave Pat the opportunity to do what he loved doing, keeping in constant contact with all the Westminster graduates, while encouraging prospective students to come to Westminster. With good reason, Pat became known as "Mr. Westminster" many years ago. In 1999, Pat accepted another new challenge that he thoroughly enjoyed when he became the Vice President and Dean of Enrollment Services at Westminster, a position he held into 2007. But 2007 presented Pat with another position at Westminster that he loved. He became the Recruiter of International Students at Westminster. He held that position until his retirement in 2015. Pat took his love and enthusiasm for Westminster to an international level and created new friends around the world. The outpouring of love received from those Westminster international students is a wonderful testament to Pat's worldwide work and love for Westminster. Pat believed and always shared his belief everyone should be treated with kindness and respect, and that kindness begets kindness. Recruiting the international students for Westminster gave Pat the opportunity to spread the Westminster story around the world, and it also gave Pat the opportunity to travel worldwide, something he thoroughly enjoyed. He took such pride in saying that students from over 70 countries had enrolled at Westminster, and he knew everyone of them. Upon Pat's retirement Pat was chosen to be a Senior Advisor for students to The Shelby Davis United World Scholars Program. Pat and Lucy enjoyed the invitation and trip of a lifetime in April of 2018, to attend an incredible wedding and celebration of a Westminster grad in Kathmandu, Nepal. Another student said, "Every minute of Pat's life was filled with the experiences of a lifetime." Pat was very active in the Fulton community, serving on the boards of the Callaway County Red Cross and the Fulton YMCA. He enjoyed his long standing membership in the Men's' Mediocre Bridge Club. He was active in all the athletic activities of his four sons in Fulton. Pat is survived by his wife of 28 years, Lucy, and their two sons John and David in Aurora, Colorado. Pat is also survived by his sons, Shawn and his wife Rachel in Kansas City and Bryan and his wife Laura in Alieso Viejo, California; three grandchildren, Chad, Chase and Hunter. Pat is also survived by his brother, Michael Kirby and his wife Carla in San Diego; and his sister, Maureen Kirby Lassen and her husband Gary in Gold Canyon, Arizona. Pat's family is so thankful to Dr. Ramadoss, his nurse Christy, nurses and all the staff at Missouri Cancer Associates, for their excellent expertise and wonderful care, which gave Pat more precious time. Pat's family also thanks the people at Hospice Compassus for their care and kindness. In lieu of flowers, the family asks that gifts be made to the "Pat Kirby Endowed Scholarship" at Westminster College in Fulton. A celebration of Pat's life will be held at The Church of St. Mary Aldermanbury, on the Westminster College campus at 2:00 p.m. on Saturday, February 16, 2019. A private burial service will be held with Pat's family. Online condolences may be made at www.debofuneralhome.com