James J. Kirkwood, 86 of rural Albany, Indiana, died November 29th, surrounded by his family at Albany Health and Rehabilitation.
James was born January 8, 1935 in Buffalo, NY to the late Basil and Emma (Schreiner) Kirkwood. On November 28, 1963, he married Audrey Catherine Sheasley, who survives. They were blessed to celebrate their 58th wedding anniversary together the night before he died.
He had a long teaching career, preceded by seven years in manufacturing and construction work, the US Air Force Reserve, and active duty in the US Army. He attended elementary schools in Buffalo, NY, Detroit, MI, and was a proud 1952 graduate of St. Mary’s High School, Lancaster, NY.
He received an AAS in construction technology from Erie Community College, Buffalo, NY; and teaching degrees at Buffalo State College, BS, MS; and Purdue University, Ph.D. He was Professor Emeritus from Ball State University in the Department of Technology and in the elementary grades at Burris Laboratory School, for 38 years, retiring in 2004.
He authored more than 100 professional articles, books and book chapters. Jim was the editor of the Hoosier Runner in the late 70’s and early 80’s, and wrote a weekly column, Running Around, for the Muncie, IN newspaper for 11 years. In his 80s, Jim was a freelance writer, writing human interest articles in the Wabash Valley Living Magazine and continued co-teaching a summer course at Ball State University.
Dr. Kirkwood served as Chair of the Technology for Children Council of the International Industrial Technology Education and served on the board of directors of that body. Through his work with CERES at Ball State, he was a member of the Building Thermal Envelope Coordinating Committee in Washington, DC. He received many awards in his long career, including the Indiana Governor’s Sagamore of the Wabash, Ball State’s Outstanding Teacher Award, and a Distinguished Technology Educator award from the ITEA. Jim was also a Mensa member.
He was a member of St. Francis Newman Center since 1969, where he was active in the music group, singing and playing instruments, mostly guitar and harmonica. As a long-time runner, Jim was inducted into the Delaware County Athletic Hall of Fame as an endurance athlete, having competed successfully in many road races, marathons and triathlons.
Jim traveled widely and did research, attended conferences and workshops and made presentations throughout the United States in many countries including the Bahamas where he and Audrey taught at St. Francis de Sales elementary school on the island of Abaco while on sabbatical from Ball State. Other countries of his professional travel include Belgium, Canada, China, Denmark, Dominican Republic, England, France, Germany, Haiti, Holland, Ireland, Malaysia, New Zealand, and Sweden.
Jim was preceded in death by his parents, loving sister Gail Watson, Lancaster, NY and daughter-in-law Lonna Orman Kirkwood. He is survived by his beloved wife of 58 years, Audrey, his sons Michael, Albany, IN; Matthew (Shalon) Fargo, ND; Martin, Westfield, IN; and daughters Anastasia Smith, Greenwood, IN; and Jaimie Kirkwood, Rochester, IN. His grandchildren include McKhi and Mattea Kirkwood; McKenna (Jacob) Schaefer, Keegan, and Garren Kirkwood; Catherine, Patrick, Erin, and Laura Smith; and Sophie, Hannah, Eli, Zoe, and Abraham Seward. Many loved and loving nieces and nephews, and great-grandchildren also survive him.
“What moves through us is a silence, a quiet sadness, a longing for one more day, one more word, one more touch, we may not understand why you left this earth before we were ready to say good-bye, but little by little, we begin to remember not just that you died, but that you lived. And that your life gave us memories too beautiful to forget.” Diane Hughes
St. Paul wrote: “For I am convinced that neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither the present nor the future, nor any powers, neither height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God.” (Romans, 8:38) A Mass of Christian Burial was celebrated with family at Beech Grove Cemetery, in Muncie, Indiana and a celebration of life will be conducted at a future date.
In lieu of flowers, donations in his memory may be sent to Haiti Twinning, care of St. Francis of Assisi Parish & Newman Center, 1200 W. Riverside, Muncie, IN 47303.
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