William Barker Kirby, age 79, passed away peacefully at his home on Tuesday, April 21, 2020.
He was born August 28, 1940 in Guthrie, Kentucky to Rev. Wilson and Samantha Hardesty Kirby.
William was the youngest of 16 children. He accepted Christ at an early age while growing up in Guthrie, attending the one room Warfield School. He excelled in school graduating in 1958 from the now historic Burt High School. Shortly after high school he enlisted into the Army and proudly served his country for 20 years.
On June 10, 1961 he united in holy matrimony to his 1st wife Althonia Shanklin Kirby and was blessed with 5 children. He was a faithful devoted husband and father until her demise. He considered himself blessed to marry his 2nd wife Beverly Ann Brown Kirby on February 11, 1983 and to this union he was blessed with 4 more children. He again stayed faithful and devoted until her demise. In his last chapter of life, he was again blessed to enter into holy matrimony to Karen Montgomery Kirby on May 31, 2017. She remained faithful and caring until his death.
After retiring honorably from the military, he felt the tremendous call to ministry. He started his licensed preaching ministry under the leadership of Pastor James Thorton of Greater Galilee Missionary Baptist Church in Lawton, Oklahoma. Rev. Kirby came to have the nickname “Won’t Budge” because it was God’s way or no way (or maybe his way or no way) but his mind would not be changed. Pastor James Thorton used Rev. Kirby in many facets of the church. Seeing the call of a greater leadership on his life, Rev. Kirby accepted his first pastorate at Mt. Pisgah Missionary Baptist Church in Kingfisher, Oklahoma. He pastored for 5 years before accepting the call to come home and pastor Guildfiled Missionary Baptist Church in Guthrie, Kentucky. Pastor Kirby packed his family and moved to Clarksville, Tennessee and pastored the Guildfield Church for 18 faithful years until he retired.
With his spirited sermons on Sunday and his trustworthy teaching on Wednesday night Bible Study, dad made sure that “Heaven is our goal.” Under his leadership many ministries were implemented, renovation was made and too many more to name but the mosted noted was licensing the 1st woman preacher in the church’s 120 plus history, who was affectionally called Rev. ‘Bev’. Upon retiring from the church Rev. Kirby fully enjoyed traveling and spending time with family and friends. Every so often you could catch him in Walmart riding a scooter or on a fishing bank. Pastor Kirby has been a pastor to many pastors young and old, men and women. He was a father to an entire community that spread way beyond Guthrie, Kentucky. He was a mentor, leader, friend and most importantly a Man of God.
Pastor Kirby leaves to cherish loving memories, wife Karen Montgomery Kirby of Clarksville; sons Tim (Mary) Kirby of Tacoma, Washington, David (Melissa) Brown-Kirby of Clarksville, Tennessee, Robert Jackson Kirby of Beggs, Oklahoma and Leon Brown of Houston, Texas; daughters Sharon Kirby of Clarksville, Tennessee, Kawanda (James) Moss of Clarksville, Tennessee, Shonda (Malito) Williams of Guthrie, Kentucky, Alnetta (Damon) Morris of Tulsa, Oklahoma and Dionne Jermia of Lexington, Kentucky; 15 grandchildren, 10 great grandchildren and a host of nieces and nephews. He was preceded in death by his parents Wilson and Samantha Kirby and all 15 of his siblings.
There will be a private service for the family.
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