Myrtle Kirby died at her home on Whidbey Island Tuesday, July 2, 2002. She passed away peacefully in the loving presence of her three sons Erik, Brian, David, and her daughter, Kristina Candelario.
Mrs. Kirby was born May 12, 1928, in Seattle to Jonas and Elvira Lundquist, immigrants from Follinge, Sweden. The Lundquists were longtime residents of the Ballard area, where Myrtle graduated from Ballard High School. In her early years she was very much a tomboy, holding her ground against a neighborhood of boys at Ross Playfield.
After graduating from Ballard, Myrtle followed her high school sweetheart and future husband, Wayne Kirby, to WSU and became a Cougar for life. Her marriage to Wayne in 1947 grew into a loving relationship that had no boundaries.
Mrs. Kirby’s love and devotion to her husband and family became her raison d’etre, and no one lived it better. Her ability to share herself was not limited to her immediate family, as she proffered her love and caring to her extended family and many friends who were fortunate to cross her path. She had an uncanny way of making everyone feel special and important.
In 1965 the Kirby family moved to the San Francisco Bay Area of California and later to Southern California. Mrs. Kirby quickly developed friendships in California that lasted her entire lifetime. While living in Southern California, she returned to school to finish her college education and earned degrees in political science and history at Cal State Fullerton. She became actively involved in the discipline of oral history and completed a detailed oral history of her mother and family. She had planned to return to her work in oral history.
In 1975 Mrs. Kirby and her husband returned to Seattle to be closer to their family and lifelong friends, and in 1993 moved to Whidbey Island. It was at her “cabin” on Bell’s Beach where Mrs. Kirby found her greatest happiness and sense of purpose. It was here where she spent every summer instilling her love and teachings in her family. In her later years she devoted her time and energy to caring for her husband, who developed Parkinson’s disease earlier in his life. Wayne currently lives on Whidbey Island.
Mrs. Kirby was a Swede inside and out. She cherished her Swedish heritage and kept strong relationships among family and friends in the old country. She always wished she could spend more time with her Swedish connections.
In addition to her four children, she imparted love and devotion to her eight grandchildren, Joe, Lauren, Jeff, Katelyn, Karrin, Michael, Ian and Alison. One of her greatest aims was to be the best grandmother she could possibly be — and she was.
In addition to her husband and family, Mrs. Kirby is survived by three brothers, Thor, Bert and Curt Lundquist; and two sisters, Ruby Johnston and Jean Sager.
Memorial services will be at noon July 9 at Trinity Lutheran Church, Freeland. Immediately following the service a gathering will held at Freeland Hall to celebrate her life.
Remembrances can be made to The H. Wayne Kirby Scholarship Fund No. 7222-4200 at WSU Foundation, P.O. Box 641042, Pullman, WA 98164 or to the Northwest Parkinson’s Foundation, 1206 123rd Ave. SE, Bellevue, WA 98005.