Published on 9/8/2012
Thomas Roland Kirby
Thomas Roland Kirby, known as T.R. or Tom, 97, of Horrell Hill, S.C. died at Palmetto Baptist Medical Center, September 5, 2012, following a brief illness with his loving family by his side.
He was born October 15, 1914, in Harpers, S.C. to the late Bachman Doar and Mary Spry Montgomery Hudson Doar.
Upon the death of his mother, when he was seven days old, he was adopted by James Israel Kirby and Rosa Estelle Hicks Kirby of Andrews, S.C. where he attended school, graduated from Andrews High School and lived until a young man.
He will be greatly missed by his family, nieces, nephews, great-nieces, great-nephews and many friends in Horrell Hill and Lower Richland.
Mr. Kirby is survived by his son, William Roland (Bill) Kirby and his wife, Camille of Horrell Hill; grandson, William Roland Kirby Jr. (Billy) and his wife, Lezlee of Columbia, S.C.; a granddaughter, Katherine Kirby Senter and her husband, Todd, of Advance, N.C; great-granddaughters, Mary Alice and Elizabeth Ann Kirby; and a great-grandson, Coleman Franklin Senter.
He was predeceased by his wife of 57 years, Mary Claytor McKinnon Kirby; brothers, John Bailey Harris, Joseph B. Hudson, Bachman Doar and sister, Mary Emma Doar.
T. R. was a faithful member of Richland Presbyterian Church, Eastover, S.C., where he served as an Elder.
Some of his hobbies were reading and watching movies until his eye sight failed in recent years. Following his retirement and settling in Horrell Hill, he enjoyed many projects using his favorite New Holland tractor, riding in his golf cart, attending The Horrell Hill Supper Club and his daily breakfast meeting with friends.
After graduating from high school, he worked a variety of jobs, including a Coca-Cola route in Georgetown and with Nashville Bridge and Iron Company during the construction of the Coastal Highway 17 over the Waccamaw and PeeDee Rivers.
In 1941 he moved to Charleston where he worked at the Charleston Naval Shipyard through World War II.
It was there that he learned his trade as an iron worker, repairing and building U.S. Navy vessels, including the building of LST's and LSM's, landing craft used for D-Day in 1944.
When the war ended, T. R., Mary Claytor and their young son, Bill, moved to her home in Horrell Hill.
For several years he worked on various bridge projects and began working for Wilhoit International (steel erectors) in 1954. He retired from Wilhoit in April 1984 after 30 years, progressing from steel erection superintendent to project manager to corporate vice-president.
This work carried him all over the Eastern Seaboard and finally to Cape Canaveral, Fla., where he was the erection superintendent for the building of Complex 39 A&B for the Apollo Mission.
He was involved in the rebuilding of this complex for the space shuttle program.
His last project was working on the completion of Epcot, Orlando, Fla.
Visitation will be from 4 to 6 p.m. on Saturday, September 8, 2012, at the family home in Horrell Hill.
Graveside services will be held Sunday, September 9, 2012, at 3 p.m. at the Beulah Baptist Church Cemetery, Horrell Hill, conducted by the Rev. Craig Wilkes.
Memorials may be made to First Presbyterian Church, 1324 Marion St., Columbia SC 29201, or a charity of one’s choice.
Please sign the online guestbook at www.dunbarfunerals.com.