Services with the Fire Department Honor Guard for Jesse Kirk of Marietta are set for 2 p.m. Monday, July 29, 2019, in the First Baptist Church, Marietta, with Pastor Shane Norton officiating. Interment will follow in the Lakeview Cemetery under the direction of Flanagan-Watts Funeral Home & Cremation Services, Marietta.
Jesse was born on Feb. 28, 1938, in Blackwell, Texas, the son of Jurl and Vallie Donnell Kirk. He passed away on Tuesday, July 23, 2019, after a brief battle with cancer at Mercy Hospital in Marietta.
The family moved from Blackwell to Marietta in 1952. He attended Thackerville High School and graduated with the class of 1956. He then moved to the Dallas area with his brother to attend business college.
On Jan. 4, 1958, he married his sweetheart Loretta “Joyce” Kirk. He says he married “the prettiest girl on the school bus” because his parents had borrowed his car that day. The two grew into a family of four with the birth of their daughter, Teresa Kirk Brundige, and their son, Chris Kirk.
Jesse’s entire life has been one of hard work, strong character and absolute integrity. At the age of 10 years old, along with his older brother, Homer, they began working at a grocery store. Within two years they had saved enough money to purchase their own automobile. After high school he attended business school, worked for Lone Star Gas Company and laid pipeline for Dallas County, becoming a proficient welder, master mechanic and a self-taught tinkerer.
Greater love hath no man than this: that a man lay down his life for his friends. John 15:13
Jesse was a proud member of First Baptist Church, Marietta and served as a greeter for many years and worked with the youth up until just a few years ago.
Jesse’s 55 years, (yes 55 years!!!) of calling to serve and protect came through the Fire Service. This calling became his life’s passion. Countless stories and incidents have been shared where he was directly involved in saving lives. Actually, hands on, saving a person’s life on duty and off duty. That is a true hero and a true Samaritan. His professional career for Irving Fire Dept., in Irving, Texas began on his 26th birthday of Feb. 28, 1964 and ended on his 56th birthday in 1994. From that age he continued as a volunteer firefighter for his community until the time of his death. Jesse’s love for his community and desire to serve was also fulfilled by chaperoning for Marietta High School trips, serving on the Thackerville Water Board, County Fair Building Board, Marietta EMS Board, RSVP Board and Shady Dale Fire Dept. Board.
When Jesse and Joyce moved from Irving, back to Thackerville in 1972, he enjoyed living back on the old home place from his childhood. On his days off from the fire department schedule, he farmed by raising cattle, cutting hay on his John dear tractor, rebuilding VW engines, fishing in the pond, taking his kids and grandkids water skiing, providing tractor and gator rides for the great-grandkids...never sitting still…that is, until he discovered the internet and google search engines...knowledge at his fingertips, could at times, bring about hilarious conversations! And it fulfilled his lifelong passion for learning!
As strong as the calling to fire service was on his life, his greatest passion was his love for his family and his “framily”(friends who became family). His genuine care for others, concern for and eagerness to share his compassionate heart had an impact on us all. The minute you became Jesse’s friend, you were sealed for life.
His children, grandchildren and great-grandchildren thank you all for indulging him as you listened to him over brag on how blessed he was by all of us! We, as his children, would say to him, “Dad, do you KNOW how many people love you...and he would shrug his shoulders and genuinely say...”but I don’t know why?!” We knew why, because the love of Jesus that filled his heart, shined brightly through that beautiful smile...he was not just a husband, father, grandfather, great-grandfather, brother, brother-in-law, and uncle…he was “father,” friend and counselor to so many in Love County and his brotherhood of firefighters.
Survivors include his wife, Joyce of the home; daughter and son-in-love, Teresa and Darrell Brundige; son and daughter-in-love, Chris and Kathy Kirk; sister and brother-in-law, LaDaira and Bill Riggs; sister’s-in-law, Annie Kirk and Jo Burkhart; five grandchildren and their spouses, Leia and Jason Spoor, Charles and April Owen, Kyle and Laci Kirk, Colt and Kaci Riley, Shiann Kirk and her boyfriend Steven Feiertag; eight great-grandchildren, Shelby and Landry Spoor, Riley and Audrey Owen, Gavin and Everly Kirk, Luke and Joy Riley; and adoring aunts, uncles, cousins, nieces and nephews.
He was preceded in death by his parents, Jurl and Vallie Kirk; in-laws, Wheat and Lillie Burkhart; brothers, Winston and Homer Kirk; brother’s-in-law, Riley Burkhart, Ira Burkhart and Harvey Burkhart; and grandson, Riley Trey Kirk.
Pallbearers are the Fire Departments of the City of Irving and the City of Lewisville. Honorary Pallbearers are nephews, Wesley Burkhart, Shane Burkhart, Brian Burkhart, Shane Knisley, Jeremy Riggs, Kirk Riggs and Corey Riggs.
For those who wish to make a memorial contribution, the family suggests the Shady Dale Volunteer Fire Department or Mercy Health Love County EMS.
Time of visitation for family and friends will be Sunday from 2 p.m. to 4 p.m. at the funeral home. The funeral home will be open until 9 p.m.
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