Frank E. Kirby

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February 16, 1932 - January 4, 2019
Born in Springfield, MO
Resided in O'Fallon, MO

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Frank E. Kirby, age 86, scholar athlete for the Central Methodist College Eagle’s basketball team during 1950-1954 has succumbed after a long struggle into the darkness of Alzheimer’s disease. He leaves a loving family including Shirlee, his wife of 64 years, also an alumni of Central, and two sons, Mark E. Kirby and Mike S. (Karen) Kirby, one granddaughter Katie (Billy) Dethrow, great-grandson Connor Michael Dethrow.

Frank graduated, got married, and entered the Marine Corps all in the same day in May 1954.

After completing his duty in the Marines, he pursued his long-anticipated career in coaching. From a successful basketball coach Frank moved on to secondary school administration becoming a much loved high school principal in the St. Louis suburban area.

After retiring from education Frank managed many exciting tours for Sunrise Tours of St. Louis, traveling throughout the United States, Canada, the Caribbean, as well as Central America and the Panama Canal.

Frank was a wonderful man who enjoyed a wonderful life.

February 16, 1932 – January 4, 2019

According to his wishes an anatomical donation of his body will be made to Washington University in St. Louis, no services will be held.

Memorial contributions may be made in Frank’s honor to the Alzheimer's Association.

Guestbook Entries

  1. Ginny pona January 5, 2019 at 1:51 pm - Reply

    Please accept our sincere sympathy on the death of our dear friend . We will miss his quick smile and his wonderful wit . We will remember Frank and his devoted family in our prayers . We are very sorry for your loss .

    Ginny and Tony Pona

  2. John Sarantakis January 6, 2019 at 8:19 am - Reply

    Sorry for your loss, Coach Kirby taught me a lot about compassion and respect. When he cut me from basketball try outs in 1962 at Normandy High School he sat down face to face with me and explained his decision, he just did not post a list on locker room door like some coaches. I have never forgotten his compassion. John Sarantakis

  3. John Sarantakis January 6, 2019 at 8:35 am - Reply

    Sorry for your loss. Coach Kirby taught me a lot about compassion and respect. In 1962 when he cut me from basketball tryouts at Normandy he sat down face to face with me and explained his decision. He just didn’t post a list on the locker room door like some coaches. I have never forgotten his compassion. John Sarantakis

  4. Jim Pemberton (1967) January 6, 2019 at 8:52 am - Reply

    Frank Kirby was to me, a wonderful man and coach. I’ll never forget his proverbial thoughts he used to get through to a bunch of thick skulled teenagers. He was tough, but yet gentle. The older I get, the more I appreciate the wisdom he imparted to all he associated with.
    My sincerest condolences to your family

  5. Sondra Spalding January 6, 2019 at 11:58 am - Reply

    candle 1Dear Shirley and Family,
    I send my sincere sympathy and love in this time of your loss of Frank. He was such a kind, sincere and caring man. He will be missed and remembered by many.

  6. Kevin Parrish January 6, 2019 at 1:23 pm - Reply

    Mr Kirby was a great principal who always had lines of communication and his door was always open.
    May he Rest in peace.

  7. Beth von Behren January 6, 2019 at 1:25 pm - Reply

    Mr. Kirby was a wonderful principal at Normandy High School. And a lovely man overall. My condolences to his family.
    Beth von Behren, Normandy ’76

  8. Sherry (Dalton) Whitely January 6, 2019 at 1:50 pm - Reply

    candle 8My thoughts and prayers are with your family. May the love of Our Lord give you strength and peace.

  9. Victor Lee Turner January 6, 2019 at 2:24 pm - Reply

    I remember Frank Kirby. He was assistant Principal at Normandy High School during my four years between 1970 and 1974. Unfortunately I was a discipline problem and he suspended me from school for five days in 1972. Having to stay home and deal with my Fathers’ discipline at home, made me stay out of trouble once I was readmitted in High School. I did NOT know he served in the Marine Corps before he became an educator and Principal. His discipline as an Assistant Principal at Normandy actually made my enlistment and recruit training in the Marine Corps a little bit easier. Rest in Peace Mr. Kirby. The Streets of Heaven are guarded by a Fine Marine and High School Principal today.

  10. Joycelyn Gay Medrano January 6, 2019 at 2:43 pm - Reply

    candle 4Sorry for your loss. Mr Kirby was a great person. He has now become the guardian angel for his family. God’s blessings to each and everyone of you

  11. Wayne Brasler January 6, 2019 at 2:58 pm - Reply

    Mr. Kirby gave Normandy High School just the leadership it needed with numerous challenging issues facing it. He seemed to have a remarkable common sense about him, he was as has been noted a great communicator, and he appreciated teachers, students and staff members who gave Normandy their best. I graduated from Normandy High in 1958 but always kept in touch with the school and in 2019 am more involved than ever. Graduates mention Mr. Kirby all the time. He affected the lives of so many young people in just the right ways,

  12. Ray Preston / Normandy Class of ‘77 January 6, 2019 at 3:03 pm - Reply

    My condolences to the Kirby family.

  13. Cheryl Croft Sudbrock January 6, 2019 at 3:39 pm - Reply

    My memory of Frank Kirby is that of a man always available to speak with students and offer guidance when needed. I’m sure I am only one of many former Normandy students to respectfully remember this wonderful man. My sincere sympathy to his family.

  14. Caroline Mertz January 6, 2019 at 3:40 pm - Reply

    Mr. Kirby was a wonderful man and respected by all . Rest In Peace Normandy class 1980.

  15. Barbara Lyles-Moton January 6, 2019 at 3:44 pm - Reply

    Frank Kirby hired me in 1973 for my first teaching position at Normandy High School. He was a great principal. Thanks to God for all the lives he touched. I still remember when your entire family attended his retirement celebration in the library. His was a life well lived. My condolences to the family.

  16. Laurie McBride/Normandy Class of '79 January 6, 2019 at 3:47 pm - Reply

    I’m so sorry to hear about Mr. Kirby’s passing. He was a wonderful, kind man,

  17. David Parr January 6, 2019 at 3:55 pm - Reply

    Mr. Kirby was a dedicated, compassionate Principal who really cared for the students and staff at the Normandy High School. He was the Associate Principal when I first arrived at Normandy and eventually became Principal. When the Color Guard/ Drill Team was organized, he gave it his full support even.helping them to obtain some equipment. Thank you Mr. Frank Kirby, R.I.P. Praying for the Kirby family.

  18. Ellen OSullivan January 6, 2019 at 4:28 pm - Reply

    A great mentor. RIP Mr
    Kirby
    You touched alot of lives
    Class of 1969 Normandy High

  19. Jason Holmes January 6, 2019 at 5:00 pm - Reply

    Normandy Class of 65, My great fortune as a Normandy Viking included learning and growing from Coach Kirby’s guidance as a classroom teacher in Physical Education and Health Education, as my Baseball Coach for Freshman and Sophomore years, as my Varsity Basketball Coach for Junior and Senior years. Mr. Kirby taught and coached with passion and intensity. He taught discipline, listening, note taking, confidence and hard work. In 1972, following my stint in the Army and Vietnam, and graduation from UMSL, I began my education career back at my old high school, just like the title character in a popular TV show of the time, “Welcome Back, Kotter”. My students got a big kick out of that I was a classroom teacher and baseball and basketball coach. By now, Mr. Kirby no longer coached basketball and baseball, instead, he served as Associate Principal. A short time later, he became Principal. When Phi Delta Kappa brought the Reverend Jesse Jackson to St. Louis, Mr. Kirby found a way for Normandy to host the evening in Viking Hall. Normandy teachers, students and parents also received invitations to the event. Following the event, Mr. Kirby encouraged me to write a grant, and lead a committee to maximize the value of the visit by designing a curriculum to accompany the video. When I graduated from Normandy, I chose to attend Central Methodist College, Coach Kirby’s alma mater. He was a big influence in that decision. So many of my classroom and coaching behaviors are imitations of his behaviors. I could not fathom a better role model. Even though he was a Marine, he never cussed. I know that to be true because we put Coach into situations where other coaches would, but Coach Kirby could make a “gol-dang it,” or a “dag nab it,” perform the same function as the sailor’s saltier variety. It took 50 years before I discovered the impacts of some decisions Coach made to help young men grow from bad choices and get another chance. Coach Kirby was tough as nails (like every great Marine) and he possessed a heart of gold (like every great teacher)! Frank Kirby is among the most influential teachers in my life, I am proud to write.

    • Deana Dothage January 19, 2019 at 2:28 pm - Reply

      Jason Holmes, this is an awesome tribute.

  20. Jan (Nelson) Dickinson January 6, 2019 at 7:00 pm - Reply

    candle 5In memory and honor of a special administrator who encouraged many students. My sympathy to Mr. Kirby’s family.
    NHS 1972

  21. Kurt Struebing January 6, 2019 at 7:23 pm - Reply

    Normandy class of 71. Mr Kirby was a wonderful and inspirational gentleman who offered firm and fair guidance that errant boys needed. I’ll always remember his offers to “ go to bat for you” which meant you will face disiplne but not too harsh. He taught myself and many others to be better students and people.

  22. Scott McClain January 6, 2019 at 7:41 pm - Reply

    Normandy class of 1983, sad to hear the passing of a great educator and man. My father was an administrator for Normandy, and later in life he and I discussed friends of his, he always said how lucky we were that Mr. Kirby was the principal at the high school. That was one thing he never had to worry about. Glad he was my principal and glad he is free of his ailments. My prayers for his family.

  23. Robbie R. Burns January 6, 2019 at 7:57 pm - Reply

    My deepest condolences to the Kirby family! The administration at Normandy
    Sr. High were caring and encouraging
    like family when I was a student(class
    of 1976) there. RIP Mr. Kirby your
    legacy lives on in us!

  24. Kathe Hofman January 6, 2019 at 9:01 pm - Reply

    A wonderful principal with a great sense of humor. I am so sorry that such a nice person suffered so much in the end. Condolences to the family. Class of 1985

  25. Pam January 6, 2019 at 9:17 pm - Reply

    Prayers to the Kirby family . I remember Mr. Kirby is a very compassionate and caring administrator. Class of 72

  26. Hope Walker January 6, 2019 at 9:23 pm - Reply

    Mr. Kirby, I remember you as a warm and kind hearted principal when I became a freshman at Normandy. My sincere condolences and prayers.

  27. Dana Brodeur (Preston) Normandy class of '73 January 6, 2019 at 9:53 pm - Reply

    My condolences to the family in the loss of this great man who was so much to many.

  28. Ginny Ford Lind Class of '72 January 6, 2019 at 10:23 pm - Reply

    Condolences to the Kirby family … Mr Kirby was a fine man to look up to for an example of leadership skills. I am glad to have had the opportunity to experience leadership, as well as his caring for students.

  29. James Grace January 6, 2019 at 11:13 pm - Reply

    My condolences to the Kirby family. I know what it is to lose a father to Alzheimer’s. He was the principal for Freshmen and Sophomores when I began teaching at Normandy in 1967 and was the last principal to have TWO grades . He was a great supporter of his faculty and the nicest man to work for. Rest in peace.
    James W. Grace

  30. James Grace January 6, 2019 at 11:17 pm - Reply

    My condolences to the Kirby family. Mr. Kirby was the principal for both the Freshmen and the Sophomores when I began teaching in 1967. He supported his faculty, was easy to get along with and will be missed. Rest in peace.

  31. Mike and Kathy Boyd January 6, 2019 at 11:47 pm - Reply

    So saddened to hear of Mr. Kirby’s passing and the suffering he endured. He was so kind and had so much love and compassion for all his students. Eternal rest grant unto him O Lord and let perpetual light shine upon him. Kathy (Salas) Boyd, Normandy High School class of 1969.

  32. Mary (Doney) Mazzola Class of '77 January 7, 2019 at 12:11 am - Reply

    I appreciated Mr. Kirby as my principal at Normandy High School (class of ’77). He was a kind man that I’m sure will be missed by many. My condolences to the Kirby family.

  33. Pam Hegger January 7, 2019 at 7:13 am - Reply

    My deepest condolences to the Kirby family. He was assistant principal during my time at Normandy (Class of ’71). I was not as lucky as many others to experience him as a teacher or coach, but I do recall him coming to me and assisting when a friend was struck by another student because he had long hair. I would recall that brief moment every time I saw him sign up for another year with the Normandy Alumni Association. RIP Mr. Kirby..

  34. Cheryl January 7, 2019 at 7:46 am - Reply

    candle 6My Condolences, Thoughts & Prayers to The Kirby Family. Yes, I do remember him from High School.

  35. Pat Lawton class of '71 January 7, 2019 at 9:51 am - Reply

    candle 8Mr. Kirby never lost his cool when dealing with the rascals that came to his office the time I attended NHS. RIP Mr. Kirby. Semper Fi

  36. Tracy Chambers January 7, 2019 at 10:45 am - Reply

    candle 6I remember him very nice man!!

  37. Nisey Love-Payne January 7, 2019 at 10:54 am - Reply

    Mr. Kirby was a very nice man and a down to earth Principal at Normandy Sr. High. If he saw you, he ALWAYS stopped to chat and asked how things were going and to remind you that his door was always open. This is what I remember the most about him and thank God I didn’t need to see him but it was awesome knowing that if I needed to, he’d be available. May you rest in peace and my condolences to your family. Class of 1984

  38. Nisey Love-Payne January 7, 2019 at 10:55 am - Reply

    candle 8Prayers to the family

  39. Patrick Hollis January 7, 2019 at 11:33 am - Reply

    Mr. Kirby was a very good high school principal. I could see some of his earlier contributions to Normandy through the pages of my older siblings year books. However, there was so much I did not know about the man. God bless his memory that lives within his students and God bless the Entire Kirby Family❤️❤️❤️

    Pat Hollis,
    Normandy Viking, Class of 1984

  40. John Kirby January 7, 2019 at 11:50 am - Reply

    candle 3I remember my Uncle Frank as a patient man who taught me how to swim. He also inspired me to join the Marines which consequently shaped my life. I will always remember him as a nice friendly man who I always looked up to. Our prayers go out to the family knowing that time will heal and he is in a better place in peace.

  41. Joan Fumagalli January 7, 2019 at 12:07 pm - Reply

    Mr Kirby was a wonderful principal at Normandy High School. May he rest in peace.

  42. Nadine Mordt January 7, 2019 at 2:11 pm - Reply

    I attended Central College (now University) from 1950-54 and everyone knew who Frank Kirby was. He was an outstanding basketball player, helped to win many of our games, and was well thought of by all. My condolences to Shirlee and family.

  43. George and Dotty Luther January 7, 2019 at 3:50 pm - Reply

    Frank Kirby was one of the finest indivuals we have had the pleasure to know since our student days at Central Methodist University. He was always cheerful with a good word for all.We always remember Frank as a true friend thru the years

  44. Ricky Lovely January 7, 2019 at 3:56 pm - Reply

    Sir you was and will always be a great gentleman that stepped in the education field. Many young men and young ldies have made an outstanding advancement in life, because of your professionalism in education. God bless you and your family. One love always. Thank you sir.

  45. Paul Winter January 7, 2019 at 7:26 pm - Reply

    On behalf of the family of Vern Winter, we want of extend our condolences for your recent loss. Myself as well as my siblings know how much respect and affection our father had for Mr Kirby and his friendship through the years was something that I know he greatly valued. It would be hard for anyone to find a kinder and gentler man than Mr Kirby. You can see by the messages here, the wonderful impact he had on so many throughout his life.

  46. Ronald Knight January 7, 2019 at 7:55 pm - Reply

    We have such great memories of Frank & Shirlee as neighbors and supper club friends here at Lake St. Louis. They were always working in their beautiful yard, but took time for a chat. Ron enjoyed Frank’s stories of his coaching and playing days. May he rest in peace and make some good shots in his heavenly home.
    Ron and Sharon Knight

  47. Lola Robinson, Normandy class of 1977 January 8, 2019 at 3:41 am - Reply

    RIP Mr. Kirby. You sir were a gentleman and a scholar. To the family, may God grant you peace at this time of great loss.

    • shirlee kirby April 21, 2019 at 2:42 pm - Reply

      Thank you so much for your thoughtful words . We miss Frank so much, however his presence will be with us always….Frank’s family

  48. Janice Hollis January 8, 2019 at 10:00 am - Reply

    candle 5Mr. Kirby had a kind, reassuring voice that personally greeted me each morning over the loud speaker at Normandy High School (Class of 1976). In his own way, he was encouraging teenagers to look forward to every school day, and many of us have fond memories of our most beloved Principal. Heartfelt condolences to his family and loved ones.

  49. Arno R. Kracht January 8, 2019 at 10:46 am - Reply

    I had the pleasure of working with Frank at Normandy High School, along with Ed Potter, from 9/1968 until 6/1974; he was one of the finest administrators I ever had the pleasure of working under. He was kind, he was practical, he loved his job and the many students he came in contact with. I’m so sorry to learn of the loss to his family and friends, who had to number in the hundreds.

  50. Thomas Saulsberry January 9, 2019 at 11:20 am - Reply

    candle 8My deepest sympathy and sincere condolences to the Kirby Family. Through our one on one talks we became friends and with his mentoring I was able to achieve academic and athletic goals. He was one of my biggest silent supporters. Blessings upon his soul and Family🙏🏾🕊🇺🇸

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