Patrick Thomas Kirby

September 11, 1943December 29, 2018

Patrick Thomas Kirby passed on December 29, 2018 at home in Columbia, Missouri with his loving wife of 28 years, Lucy, at his bedside, after a battle with cancer. Pat was born on September 11, 1943 in Monterey, California. He grew up in Strawberry Point, Iowa, a small town of 1,200, and graduated from high school there in 1961. Pat excelled in all sports in high school and was a class leader.

Pat attended the University of Iowa where he received his B.A. degree in 1966 and his Master's degree in 1968. Despite leaving Iowa in 1968 Pat remained a diehard Iowa Hawkeye for life. He was granted a delayed reporting for active duty to as a 2nd lieutenant in the U. S. Army to obtain his doctorate. He then attended U.S. International University (USIU) in San Diego where he received his Ph.D. in 1971.

Pat then entered active duty with the U.S. Army and served in the quartermaster corps at Fort Lee, Virginia and was promoted to 1st lieutenant. Upon his honorable discharge from the Army he went to work in 1973 as the Assistant Dean of Students and assistant professor of psychology at USIU in San Diego. In 1975, he became the Dean of Students at USIU.

In a decision that changed Pat’s life, and improved and enhanced the lives of so many other fortunate people, particularly college students, Pat accepted the position of Dean of Students at Westminster College in Fulton, Missouri in 1975. Pat held, indeed, embraced that position for 20 years into 1995, and he knew every Westminster student. Most often, Pat was the first representative of Westminster College the new students would encounter and who would become Pat’s good friends for life. He knew their backgrounds and their parents. He was devoted to Westminster and of its students. As one Westminster grad recently wrote to Pat: “You invested your life’s energy in each and everyone of us.”

For Pat, the Westminster students, faculty and staff were all members of his family. He treated his friends as his own family, always with kindness, respect and encouragement. There were occasional sad times and tragedies for the students, and Pat provided comfort and compassion for the students and their families. An avid sports fan his entire life, Pat particularly enjoyed serving as the baseball coach at Westminster for one season in the mid-1980s, and often joked that those students all somehow overcame his coaching.

Students graduated every year from Westminster, remaining Pat’s friends for life. Having known every Westminster student for 20 years, it was natural that in 1995 Pat was asked to become the Director of Alumni and Parent Relations at Westminster, a position he gladly accepted. That position gave Pat the opportunity to do what he loved doing, keeping in constant contact with all the Westminster graduates, while encouraging prospective students to come to Westminster. With good reason, Pat became known as “Mr. Westminster” many years ago.

In 1999, Pat accepted another new challenge that he thoroughly enjoyed when he became the Vice President and Dean of Enrollment Services at Westminster, a position he held into 2007. But 2007 presented Pat with another position at Westminster that he loved. He became the Recruiter of International Students at Westminster. He held that position until his retirement in 2015. Pat took his love and enthusiasm for Westminster to an international level and created new friends around the world. The outpouring of love received from those Westminster international students is a wonderful testament to Pat’s worldwide work and love for Westminster. Pat believed and always shared his belief everyone should be treated with kindness and respect, and that kindness begets kindness.

Recruiting the international students for Westminster gave Pat the opportunity to spread the Westminster story around the world, and it also gave Pat the opportunity to travel worldwide, something he thoroughly enjoyed. He took such pride in saying that students from over 70 countries had enrolled at Westminster, and he knew everyone of them. Upon Pat's retirement Pat was chosen to be a Senior Advisor for students to The Shelby Davis United World Scholars Program. Pat and Lucy enjoyed the invitation and trip of a lifetime in April of 2018 to attend an incredible wedding and celebration of a Westminster grad in Kathmandu, Nepal. Another student said, “Every minute of Pat’s life was filled with the experiences of a lifetime.”

Pat was very active in the Fulton community, serving on the boards of the Callaway County Red Cross and the Fulton YMCA. He enjoyed his long standing membership in the Men’s’ Mediocre Bridge Club. He was active in all the athletic activities of his four sons in Fulton. Pat is survived by his wife of 28 years, Lucy, and their two sons John and David in Aurora, Colorado. Pat is also survived by his sons Shawn and his wife Rachel in Kansas City and Bryan and his wife Laura in Alieso Viejo, California, three grandchildren Chad, Chase and Hunter. Pat is also survived by his brother Michael Kirby and his wife Carla in San Diego, and his sister Maureen Kirby Lassen and her husband Gary in Gold Canyon, Arizona.

Pat’s family is so thankful to Dr. Ramadoss, his nurse Christy, nurses and all the staff at Missouri Cancer Associates, for their excellent expertise and wonderful care, which gave Pat more precious time. Pat’s family also thanks the people at Hospice Compassus for their care and kindness.

In lieu of flowers, the family asks that gifts be made to the "Pat Kirby Endowed Scholarship" at Westminster College in Fulton. A celebration of Pat’s life will be held at The Church of St Mary Aldermanbury, on the Westminster College campus at 2:00 PM on Saturday, February 16, 2019.

A private burial service will be held with Pat’s family. online condolences can be made at


  • Cyril Thomas Kirby, Father
  • Fern Kirby, Mother
  • Lucy Donley Kirby, Wife
  • Michael (Carla) Kirby, Brother
  • Maureen (Gary) Lassen, Sister
  • John Kirby, Son
  • David Kirby, Son
  • Shawn (Rachel) Kirby, Son
  • Bryan (Laura) Kirby, Son
  • Chad Kirby, Grandchild
  • Chase Kirby, Grandchild
  • Hunter Kirby, Grandchild



  • Celebration of Life Service Saturday, February 16, 2019


  • PRIVATE Committal Service at HIllcrest Cemetery

Patrick Thomas Kirby

have a memory or condolence to add?

Gary Bucher

January 7, 2019

I am fortunate that my life's path crossed Pat Kirby's. At this time, I hope the Kirby family knows what a positive impact Dean Kirby had on countless young men and women through his work at Westminster College.

Phil Geier

January 5, 2019

I write for both Shelby Davis and myself to say how proud we always will be of Pat as a student-centered educator who led Westminster’s partnership with the Davis United World College Scholars Program. In so doing, he transformed the lives of Americans and non-Americans alike and created a network of future leaders, stretching from Fulton to countless places around the world. Pat’s enthusiasm for and deep commitment to international understanding through education fostered lifelong relationships that now span the globe and give us hope for a better world. In Pat’s retirement, we were fortunate to have him as a valued Senior Advisor to our program, making several site visits to our partner colleges and universities across the U.S. where, above all, he loved being with the students, just as he had at Westminster for so many years. We send our deepest condolences to his family and friends.

Illiana Zamora

January 5, 2019

I remember Pat always taking the time to have conversations with me about my family and my Westminster Experience when I worked for the Alumni Office as a student. He was always very friendly and well known especially amongst the International Student Community. My condolences to the Kirby family. Pat touched many lives and made our Westminster Experience amazing. I will pray for your family.

Beverly McMorris Bryant

January 4, 2019

I was a classmate of Pat's in grade school and through my sophomore year in high school. Somehow, he got my address and I did attend several class reunions.

Pat and I challenged each other, especially in spelling. Either he or I would be the last one standing!

I kept in contact with him through emails, but hadn't heard from him in a while. Being really curious, I looked on google only to find that he had passed. I had kept up with his health challenges and will miss him.

May his family find comfort in knowing that he will no longer have pain nor sickness.

Bob Fenchel

January 3, 2019

My heart-felt condolences to Lucy and the family. I know you were very precious to Pat, and I pray for your well-being.

I've known Pat all my life going back to the grade school and high school years in Strawberry Point, Iowa. I knew his mother, Fern, who was always friendly to me and the other kids whom Pat hung out with. Even after graduation in 1961 our paths would cross occasionally on campus at the University of Iowa, and Pat always had time to talk and catch up on personal and family matters. One of the compelling attributes of Pat, and there were many, was his committment to Strawberry Point High School kids. He would do his level best to keep in touch with each and every one of the kids in the class of 61 and even others from other graduating classes. He was a tireless organizer and spokesperson at class reunions, and could reach out and involve others to make them entertaining and enjoyable experiences. There has never been anyone I knew that was both willing and able to take-charge of reunions like he did.

I've been retired now since 2011 and have stayed in touch with Pat since that time through email. He shared with me and others his struggles with cancer and other health issues that had dragged him down from time to time, but he also expressed a personal resolve to live as fully as he knew how each and every day. He would always pass along tidbits of humor in his emails that I enjoyed I greatly admired his courage in the face of the life-threatening illnesses he had to endure. As they say, attitude is everything, and Pat had the kind of attitude one needs to fully embrace life and accept what it brought in the good moments and not-so-good moments.

God bless you, Pat.

Bob Fenchel
Williamsburg, VA

Steve Spitsnogle

January 3, 2019

Pat was a rare example of integrity and honesty. He is a big part of the reason I graduated from Westminster. It was my privilege to know this excellent role model. I hope his family is aware of how deeply he was admired by the students he served. I will miss him and his emails.

Mary Ester Wood

January 3, 2019

Thinking about you Lucy, and sending our love. Nancy & Don Wood & Ester Wood.
Pat will be dearly missed.

Robert Kranz

January 2, 2019

My condolences to Pat's family and friends. He was a great guy who I first met on his first day of work at Westminster. He joined our group for lunch at Robertson Dining Hall and became a very important part of my life from that day on. I will miss his hospitality and generosity which he freely gave so often in the past. He leaves behind a great legacy but I can't help feeling that we have all lost a big part of Westminster life. We will raise a glass to you my friend. Godspeed!

Audrey Remley

January 2, 2019

2018 has been a hard year for Westminster and for me, personally. It feels like all my colleagues at the college are one-by-one slipping away. First Richard, then Doug and Bob, and now Pat. Technically, Pat was my boss, but he always treated me as his equal. We spent time consulting about particular students and he had my back in a few dicey situations. One of Pat's greatest characteristics was loyalty. He was loyal to the college per se, but also to individuals within the college, so you knew you were not alone. Pat had a magnetism exuding from him that drew people in. It was phenomenal to watch him work. I have seen Pat when he was down. I have seen Pat when he was angry. But those feelings were superseded by his compassion, his loyalty, his enthusiasm, and his love. He loved Lucy, the boys, and the grandchildren and he never failed to let you know that. I will always smile when I think of Pat or hear his name until the day I die. Go in peace, my dear. You have been a good and faithful servant.

Becky Botts

January 2, 2019

Although I did not know Patrick, I met Lucy while taking classes at the Art House in Fulton, MO. She always spoke so lovingly of her husband. I extend my sympathies to you, Lucy, and your family during this time. May you find comfort in the many friends who are surrounding you.
Your art buddy,
Becky Botts