Earl D. Kirk (Dean) of Big Rock and Sugar Grove, passed away on Wednesday, Sept. 16, 2009, at his home, following a brave and courageous battle with lung cancer. Earl was born in Jasper County, Ill., on Nov. 7, 1926, the son of the late Marshall Kirk and Nellie Kirk Spaits.
As a young boy, growing up from a very humble beginning, Earl only attended school until he was 10 years old. At the age of 16, hoping for a better life, he enlisted in the U.S. Navy, proudly serving his country for six years with the Special Amphibious Forces. Those battles included landing on Omaha Beach, Normandy, France, the Battle of the Midway, as well as many others. He served on the USS Hammond and the USS Saugus, and was awarded the Purple Heart.
After the war, Earl headed north to the Sugar Grove area, where he met and fell in love with his future wife, Delores Burridge. They were married on June 26, 1948, and were together 56 years, until Delores passed away in August 2004.
Earl first worked as a farm hand on the Hannaford Farm, and then the Leigh Sauer farm. While working on the farm during the day, every evening Earl worked on the new home he was building for his family in Sugar Grove. After moving to town in 1957, he decided he had enough of the farm life and started his own business in carpentry and home remodeling. In 1972, Earl and his wife moved once again into the new house he built in Big Rock for his family.
Earl was well known for his great stories, and he had many. While living in Sugar Grove, he was the first police magistrate, and many times would tell the story about holding court right alongside the road on Route 47 using a card table, once ticketing a U.S. Senator. He had a passion for collecting antiques and clocks.
In recent years, some of his favorite times were getting together with his friends at Candyâ€™s restaurant. Earl was an intelligent and kind man with a huge heart, and would do anything for his friends, because they meant the world to him. He would strike up a conversation with anyone who crossed his path. He leaves behind an entire community of family and friends who will miss him very much.
Earl was able to visit the World War II Memorial in Washington, DC in August 2008, sponsored by â€œHonor Flight Chicago,â€ an organization that flies veterans to the memorial for the entire day, free of charge.
He is survived by his daughters, Dale Ann (Robert) Seidelman, of Aurora, and Doris (Robert) Field of Meridan, Idaho, and his sons, Earl D. Kirk, Jr. of Evansville, Ind., and Edward Kirk, of Aurora, his grandchildren, Eric, Kathryn, and Benjamin Seidelman of Aurora, Christian Seidelman of Aurora, Jessica Seidelman of Sugar Grove, Julie Kirk of New York, and Joseph Hollanback of Pa., and five great grandchildren. Earl is also survived by three sister-in-laws, Barbara (Tom) Greyer of Sugar Grove, Dorothy Fannin, of California, and Bettyjo Kirk of Independence, Mo., a nephew William (Judy) Kinsel of Spring Valley, Ill., as well as many other nieces and nephews.
He is preceded in death by his parents, his wife Delores Kirk, brother Von Kirk, a brother in infancy, and a sister, Flossie Kinsel.
A visitation was held on Friday, Sept. 18, at The Healy Chapel, 370 Division Dr. Sugar Grove. Funeral services took place on Saturday, Sept. 19, at the funeral home, with Pastor Ron Markese officiating. Interment will be at Sugar Grove Cemetery.
In lieu of flowers, contributions to â€œHonor Flight Chicagoâ€ in Earlâ€™s memory would be deeply appreciated. Contributions will enable other World War II veterans to visit the memorial built in their honor.
Special thanks to Marguerite and Cindy from Provena Hospice for their loving care.
For further information, call (630) 466-1330 or visit www.healychapel.com to sign the online guestbook.