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Burton Lawrence Kirkman

Posted By DeBord Snyder Funeral Home & Crematory On February 3, 2022 @ 3:17 pm In Obituaries | 13 Comments

Kirkman obit photo web

Burton Lawrence Kirkman was a wonderful, smart, funny, loving husband and father. He died peacefully on February 2, 2022 at age 88.  Born on August 13, 1933 in Clinton, IA, he was the youngest of six children of Joseph Spencer Kirkman and Marie Jensen Kirkman. Burt had 5 older half siblings as well.  His beloved wife, Ruth Temple Kirkman, predeceased him in 2012.  He is survived by his daughter Janet (Scott) Crewson, daughter Sharon (Troy) Bradsher, son Russell (Linda) Kirkman, two grandchildren, four step-grandchildren, eight great-grandchildren and sister Jean Ward of St. Joseph, MO.

As a senior at Clinton HS, Burt took first place in the high jump at the 1951 Iowa State Track meet.  In one multi-state meet, he competed against Wilt Chamberlain and lost (imagine that).  He was also on the swimming and diving teams.  In addition, Burt became the HS Student Body President by winning over 90% of the vote. 

Burt continued participating in track at Cornell College (Mt Vernan, IA).  He set school records in high jump, 120 yard high hurdles and 220 yard low hurdles. 

Burt met the love of his life as a freshman while at Cornell College.  He was a waiter in the cafeteria and his boss turned out to be a senior, Ruth Temple.   Their romantic relationship started slowly but in the end Burt and Ruth’s marriage would last 57 years.

Burt ultimately transferred to the University of Iowa and graduated in 1956 with a Bachelor of Science degree in Chemical Engineering. 

He worked for DuPont for 34 years in several roles (manufacturing engineer, technical sales, area supervisor, and senior business analyst) until his retirement in 1990.  During his DuPont years, Burt and family lived in Richmond, VA (twice!), Circleville, OH and Wilmington, DE (twice!).  He was a member of St. Paul’s United Methodist Church in Wilmington, DE for 30 years and held various positions there.  One service opportunity that was especially meaningful to him in the 1970s was to help settle Vietnamese refugees, the Nguyen family, into the U.S.

Burt excelled in many hobbies including writing poetry and prose.  He loved puns and passed the joy of them down to his children.  Burt and Ruth were avid bell collectors and gave well over 100 bell presentations to schools and organizations.  He was a wood craftsman and built dozens of beautiful cherry furniture pieces. Many family vacations were spent in the national parks that Burt loved to explore.

In 2004 Burt and Ruth moved to the Willow Valley Retirement Communities in Lancaster County, PA.  Burt delighted many people with a new hobby of his, “fauxtography” – a form of visual punnery.  He spent thousands of hours digitally editing photos and displaying them near their apartment.  Occasionally he would share his creations more widely in public slideshows which were very popular.

A small memorial service will be held at St. Paul’s UMC in Wilmington, DE at 11:00 a.m. on March 14, 2022.  

Memorial contributions may be sent to St Paul’s UMC, 1314 Foulk Rd, Wilmington, DE  19803 (donations will go to the United Methodist Committee on Relief for disaster response) or sent to Church World Service–Lancaster, 308 E King St, Lancaster PA 17602 for refugee resettlement assistance.

Please click the link below to access the Tribute Video

https://www.tributeslides.com/tributes/show/FB9WNL825N3KDHS8


Condolences for the family of “Burton Lawrence Kirkman”

Condolence from June Davis Wesbury on February 7th, 2022 8:18 am

What a joy to have known your parents! They both added so much to our lives here at Willow Valley. We treasure memories and pray they will comfort you at this time.
June and Stu Wesbury

Condolence from Sharon Bradsher on February 8th, 2022 9:41 pm

Thank you very much. They loved Willow Valley!

Sharon Kirkman Bradsher

Condolence from Jean Morgan on February 8th, 2022 5:45 pm

Dear Family,

Ruth is ringing every bell in Heaven, welcoming her beloved Burt home!

My Love, His peace,

Jean Yeager Morgan

Condolence from Janet Crewson on February 10th, 2022 1:30 pm

Mom and Dad treasured their long-time friendship with you, Jean. I love the probably very true picture you paint!

Jan Kirkman Crewson

Condolence from Marcia Larson on February 11th, 2022 11:41 pm

Burt was my favorite Uncle. I have many wonderful memories of him. My deepest sympathy to Jan, Sharon, Russ and all their families on your loss. He was a wonderful person and will be greatly missed.

Love from his niece,

“Marcia Mallow” (his nickname for me)
Marcia Kirkman Larson

Condolence from Russ on February 14th, 2022 12:23 pm

Thanks so much Marcia.

Condolence from Evelyn Minix Rowe on February 15th, 2022 7:28 pm

Dear Jan, Sharon, and Russ,

I am so saddened to read about your dear dad.
Your parents were such a kind and loving couple.
They graciously opened their home many times to us teens during our high school and college years.

You all are in my thoughts and prayers.

Evelyn Minix Rowe

Condolence from Jan Crewson on February 17th, 2022 7:57 am

Thanks Evelyn! Mom and Dad were always glad to get to know our friends and have them around—especially really nice ones like you!

Condolence from Daniel Murray on February 16th, 2022 1:06 pm

I grew up next to your parents on Taunton Road, and they were incredibly nice. You have my deepest condolences.

Condolence from Jan Crewson on February 17th, 2022 7:59 am

Thanks Daniel. Mom and Dad were lucky to have great neighbors while they lived there!

Condolence from June Davis Wesbury on March 6th, 2022 8:41 am

We cherish the memories of your parents! We laughed with your Dad for years. Your Mom was a very special prayer partner. So glad our paths crossed here at WV!

Condolence from Scott Harlan on March 6th, 2022 3:47 pm

Sharon – This is a blast from your distant past, but I happened to see your dad’s obit in the Wilmington News Journal and wanted to pass along my condolences. It was neat reading about the bell collection and our dad’s shared a history at DuPont. I’m very sorry for your loss. This was a real coincidence that I even saw the news about your dad because my step-father passed away and his obit is right next to your dad’s on the News Journal on-line version. I remember your dad as a wonderful, happy and friendly person. I’m very sorry for your loss.

Condolence from Sharon Kirkman Bradsher on March 8th, 2022 7:47 am

Scott, Great to hear from you. Thank you for you kind words about my dad. We seem to be of the age when losing a parent is part of our own journey. I did not know your step-father but I know your amazing mother and the rest of your family are mourning his passing. My condolences to all of you

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