Robert William Kirby

October 16, 1928January 23, 2021

The Honorable Judge Robert William Kirby of Cherryville, N.C., known to his friends and family as Judge or Bob, passed away at the age of 92 peacefully on Saturday, January 23, 2021 at Elmcroft Assisted Living in Newton, N.C.

Born October 16, 1928, he was the son of Reverend Cicero W. Kirby and Ruth McPhail Kirby.

Born in Spencer, N.C. he received his A.B. from High Point University and his L.L.B. from The University of North Carolina Law School. He served in the Army from 1952 to 1954. Kirby practiced law in Gastonia and Cherryville, N.C. before being appointed Gaston County Solicitor. He was elected to the 27th Judicial District in 1972 where he remained on the Superior Court Bench until 2000 when he retired. Bob was a member of the First United Methodist Church in Cherryville. He was an avid Tar Heel fan and passed away watching Carolina beat N.C. State in basketball.

He was preceded in death by his wife of 59 years, June Kirby, and son, Chris Kirby.

Those left to cherish his memory are his sons, Robert Kirby Jr. and wife, Vicki of Lenexa, Kansas, and Greg Kirby of Denver, N.C.; and daughter-in-law, Michelle Kirby, of Newton N.C..; Brother Jack Kirby of Daytona Florida; 7 grandchildren, Taylor Kirby, Patrick Kirby, Gregory Kirby Jr., Emily Kirby, John Kirby Jr., William Kirby, and Anna Kirby.

A private service will be held for the family at a later date.

In lieu of flowers, memorials may be made to United Methodist Church, 601 N. Pink St, Cherryville N.C 28021 or to the Piedmont Council, Boy Scouts of America 1222 E. Franklin Blvd., Gastonia NC 28054.

Condolences may be sent to the Kirby family at

The Kirby family has entrusted the funeral arrangements to Willis-Reynolds Funeral Home in Newton, NC.


  • Piedmont Council Boy Scouts of America
  • United Methodist Church


No public services are scheduled at this time. Receive a notification when services are updated.


Robert William Kirby

have a memory or condolence to add?

Ellen Kirby

February 21, 2021

Please know of my sincere sorrow for the passing of Robert Kirby. Robert was a relative and I value so much his guiding me through our Kirby family history. I had been interested in genealogy for a while and a friend of mine Julia Stamey put me in touch with Robert because she figured we might be related. That contact opened a door for me to pursue a lifelong interest in our family history. Just this morning I was thinking of making renewed contact with Robert, but sadly I discovered his obituary online. Although I never met Robert except by correspondence and on the telephone I wanted to share some new information I have. Robert's father and my father were cousins and one time he came to meet my father in Winston-Salem. I was living in New York City at the time. I do remember how very happy my father was to have Robert visit him. Please know that I am thinking of your family and extend my condolences to all.
Ellen Kirby (I kept my maiden name). Winston-Salem, NC

Fritzi Campbell

January 30, 2021

Judge Kirby was a wonderful man! Prayers and love to you and
your family. God Bless you.

Fritzi R. Campbell

Betty Beam

January 29, 2021

A fine gentleman and a good family. So sorry for your loss.
Mrs. Carroll Ned Beam

Judge David Cayer

January 29, 2021

I appeared before Judge Kirby as an assistant DA. He was an excellent judge with a wonderful temperament on the bench. I would see him at the Gaston Courthouse long after his retirement and he hadn't changed a bit. God bless his family during this sad time.

Mike Selle

January 29, 2021

Judge Kirby mediated many cases for me during my time in private practice. He was a true gentleman and a skilled mediator. My clients and I had numerous choices for our mediators, but often selected Judge Kirby when we could get him because of his unique ability to resolve tough cases for us. I always enjoyed spending the downtime in mediations with Judge Kirby, discussing any number of topics - the law, sports, family, etc. He was an engaging and personable presence and he will be missed.

Patricia West

January 28, 2021

In the sixty years I knew Judge Kirby, he proved himself to be an honorable man in all aspects of his life. He had a large heart, and he showed compassion for all. He was a huge influence and made a great impact on so many of us, personally and professionally. I feel so honored to have known him for so many years. He will be truly missed.

Richard Shaffer

January 28, 2021

Judge Kirby was on the bench when I first became a member of the Bar many years ago. He was an excellent judge and had a good judicial temperament. He was well thought of by the attorneys. He served the State well and was missed when he left the bench. I wish the family peace for the loss of a man who well deserves the rest he earned with his service to the State and those around him.

Geneva Sherrill

January 28, 2021

It was a pleasure to be Robert’s caregiver and what a nice gentleman and caring!
I will always remember going in his room and talking to him many times and I could always get a smile from him about his most favorite team and his granddaughters
It broke my heart when I heard!

Prayers for his family
Love you always Judge

Edith Phillips

January 27, 2021

I was hair stylist at Elmcroft untill march if last year,I always enjoyed our talks during the time I cut his hair, a very nice gentleman, my thoughts and prayers are with the family.

Robert Grant

January 27, 2021

Please accept my condolences on the passing of Judge Kirby. I tried many cases before him in the 1970s and '80s. He was a distinguished jurist, very fair to both sides, and always a joy to be before and with incident to court proceedings. I have a distinct memory of his expressing his frustration, not by words or much facial expression, but by rubbing his face with the palm of his hand. When one saw that, you knew your were close the edge and time to back away. I really enjoyed seeing him in post-retirement, although those occasions were too rare. As his family, I am sure you are, as you should be, of his life, well-lived.