John Martin Kirkland
September 3, 1933 – August 7, 2018
John was born in Valdosta, GA to Samuel Otto and Clarice Annette (nee Rodgers) Kirkland. He was one of six children born to that union. His family moved several times before settling in Jacksonville, FL where he grew up. At the age of sixteen, John lied about his age and joined the Army National Guard. Upon learning that he would be sent to Korea as a medic, John proceeded to ask for a gun. When he found out he would not be issued a weapon, John quit the service and informed his superiors he was a minor. One year later, his father went with him to the Naval Recruiting Office and enlisted him. The navy didn’t issue John a weapon either. He served four years on the aircraft carrier The Bon Homme Richard, and saw such exotic locations as Honolulu, HI and Subic Bay, Philippines. Upon his discharge from the navy, John returned home where he worked driving a truck for R C Cola. This turned into a dead-end life so he returned to the military where he enlisted in the U S Air Force. He was stationed in Amarillo, Texas where he met the love of his life, Laura Pearl Smith. They married in 1957. Throughout their marriage, the couple was stationed in various locations, from the Philippine Islands, to Buzzards Bay, MA to Roswell, NM. Their union produced five children: David Lee, Judy Ann, Teresa Joyce, John Michael and their favorite, Scott Wayne. Following his retirement at Dyess Air Force Base in Abilene, TX, John became the owner of John’s Tin Shop. Later he served as a greeter at Walmart. He was a faithful member and deacon at Harvest Baptist Church. John was preceded in death by his wife, Laura, of 56 years; his daughter Judy; sisters, Joyce Arthur and Connie Saucerman; three brothers: Thomas Carol, Willie Floyd and Samuel Otto Kirkland, Jr., and his parents. John Kirkland passed from this life on Tuesday, August 7th while fishing with his best friend, Duane Phillips. Funeral services will be held at 2pm on Saturday, August 11, 2018 in the Elliott-Hamil Chapel of Faith, 5701 Hwy 277 South, with burial following in Elmwood Memorial Park Cemetery. The family will receive friends for a visitation from 12 to 2pm, prior to the service. He is survived by his children: David and wife Teresa of Wichita Falls, Teresa Kelderhouse and husband Don of Urbana, MO, John and wife Julie of Nairobi Kenya, and Scott and wife Shelly of Big Spring; ten grandchildren, thirteen great grandchildren, and one sister, Alwyn Gray of Jacksonville, FL..John, himself, survived Blackie Rawles. The family requests, that in lieu of flowers, memorials be made to Harvest Baptist Church Missions Program, 1389 Vine St. Abilene, TX 79602.
John was preceded in death by his wife, Laura, of 56 years; his daughter Judy; sisters, Joyce Arthur and Connie Saucerman; three brothers: Thomas Carol, Willie Floyd and Samuel Otto Kirkland, Jr., and his parents, Samuel Otto and Clarice Annette (nee Rodgers) Kirkland
He is survived by his children: David and wife Teresa of Wichita Falls, Teresa Kelderhouse and husband Don of Urbana, MO, John and wife Julie of Nairobi Kenya, and Scott and wife Shelly of Big Spring; ten grandchildren, thirteen great grandchildren, and one sister, Alwyn Gray of Jacksonville, FL..John, himself, survived Blackie Rawles.
- Visitation Saturday, August 11, 2018
- Funeral Service Saturday, August 11, 2018
John Martin Kirkland
August 11, 2018
I will miss hearing that old truck coming down the alley about 6:30 AM & him opening the gate to pick up DP's fishing stuff. If I was out on the porch when they came in he'd give me a hard time for NOT getting up & opening the gate & I'd say, 'Hey, that's your thing; not mine!" Then he gave us a shed & said "This won't take long to put together!" It only took 11 hrs! We still laugh about that. But the best one is the day I got a call to come out to the lake because the truck would not start. I went & searched everywhere but couldn't find them. Finally DP called
me & said John was over at Regional waiting on me! So I took off over there & had to search for him. Picked him up & he gave me directions as to where to go. As I started on THEIR path there were ruts big enough for a car to fall in...Unbelievable! I stopped the truck & just laughed till I hurt! He took the wheel & got us through it. Later, we jumped the truck & came home. As they were unloading I said to them, 'Next time you idots pull something like this DO NOT call me to come after you & then I laughed all the way into the house" Great memories. Such a wonderful, wonderful friend to DP! How we will miss him!!
August 10, 2018
So sorry for your loss, but we really know where he is. He is walking the streets of gold. I remember him from Trinity Baptist Church in Abilene. He always had a smile. The one thing i remember most, is that he was an encourager. Til we meet again.
August 9, 2018
My favorite memory is of Bro. Kirkland working in Vacation Bible School. Collecting offering from our little guys and gals, he always had a big smile on his face and something to say to each child.... sweet example of serving at any age.
August 9, 2018
So many memories in 6 years that I’ve known him. Grew to Live him and Laura as if they were my parents! He gave great Hugs every time I saw him. I will miss my pew partner at Church very much and I am sad for selfish reasons but rejoice that he is with our Lord and Savior and Sweet Laura. Love you both always. Sending Prayers for Comfort to the family with my Love.
August 9, 2018
My thoughts and prayers are with the family. He was a great guy and will certainly be missed.