Obituary: Patricia “Pat” Kirk

Posted at 11:04 AM, Jan 13, 2022
and last updated 2022-01-13 13:04:07-05

Patricia “Pat” Kirk passed away last Thursday, December 30, 2021, at her home with son, Doug, by her side.

She was born in August 1929, and grew up in Beaver Falls, PA, where her father, James Whitehill, was a Urologist and mother, Wilda, was a school teacher. She attended and graduated with a math degree from Chatman College (now Chatham University) in Pittsburgh, PA, and after school first worked as a buyer at a large Dept Store in Baltimore, MD. She married Charles H. “Charlie” Kirk in November of 1953 and subsequently moved to Pasadena, CA for job opportunities, where she worked as a ‘computer’ (think of the recent movie ‘Hidden Figure’) calculating trajectories for the Navaho Missile program.

Charlie, Pat, and her brother, William Whitehill, were part of the first IBM computer programming classes offered in 1954 at North American Aviation. Then she switched to her best-known role as a mother in November 1955, moving to Anaheim, CA, to start her family with Charlie. In California, she was involved in the PTA program and Save Our Schools campaign. Later, after a two-year assignment in Liege, Belgium, the family moved back to California for two years, then to Aurora, CO, in 1970, where they would spend the next 14 years. There she was involved in the InterChurch Commerce and Soroptimist Club for her volunteering efforts. She also expanded her mothering responsibilities through those years by taking in several foreign exchange students and treating them as family in their home away from home.

After Charlie retired from Hughes Aircraft Co. in 1984, they moved to Bozeman to look after Charlie’s parents, Hebert and Eleanor Kirk. Here she continued her involvement in the community by volunteering through Gallatin Hospice and Love, Inc.

She was an avid horsewoman, and rode with the Bozeman Saddle-lites and in the hills behind their property.

She is survived by her three children and their families, David Kirk and Janell Kinzie of Lovettsville, Virginia, Diane Kirkpatrick of Hermosa Beach, California, and Douglas Kirk and Jill Graham of Bozeman. She is also survived by five grandchildren and their families, Cameron Kirk of Denver, Colorado, Caitlin and Colin Ruh-Kirk of Bozeman, Montana, Daniel and Kelly Kirk of Sterling, Virginia, Cassius Sims and Ariel Hayes and daughter, Nora, of Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, and Charles and Sonia Sims and daughter, Mila, of Hawthorne, California; and niece, Lizanne Howard, of Monmouth, Oregon. She and Charlie were very involved with the Extension Homemakers club and Pilgrim Congregational Church in Bozeman.

In lieu of flowers, the family requests donations be made to either the Pilgrim Congregational Church, HRDC in Bozeman, or the Gallatin 4H Club. Private ceremonies will be held at Sunset Hills Cemetery in Bozeman, Montana and Mill Creek Cemetery in Hookstown, Pennsylvania.

A Memorial Service is tentatively scheduled for the weekend of July 2, 2022, in Bozeman.

Arrangements are in the care of Dokken-Nelson Funeral Service. []