The world and southwest Colorado lost a pillar of integrity, influence, volunteerism when Dean Arthur Kirk passed away peacefully at age 84 on Thursday, December 5, 2019 in Orem, UT. All these years of teaching, coaching, and volunteering started in a tiny, South Dakota farm house on July 28, 1935. New parents-to-be Glenn and Teresa Kirk loaded up in their Model A Ford and headed for Newell, South Dakota, the closest town to where they were living. Dean was coming fast and they eventually stopped at an isolated farm house. The understanding occupants invited them in and helped welcome a very premature boy into the world.
During Dean's early years, they lived with relatives while his dad went from ranch to ranch and job to job to make ends meet. They eventually ended up in northern Idaho on the Montana border for the silver mining opportunities that offered hope for employment. His only sibling Jim was born at this time.
Then World War II started and they moved to Oregon to build ships for the war effort. After about one year in Oregon, his parents were able to save enough money to move back to northern Montana, and Idaho with an eventual move to Cortez, CO when he was 17.
The move to Colorado really changed and shaped the rest of Dean's life. It was at Cortez High School where he met the cutest girl he had ever seen. It took all of his nerve to finally asked her to dance at the American Legion Dance for the first time. He and Barbara have been together ever since. His first year of college was at Fort Lewis College while he was waiting for Barbara to graduate from high school. Then they both attended Brigham Young University in Provo, Utah.
In December 1955, Dean Kirk married Barbara Garwood in a Baptist church in Las Vegas NV. 1957 was another milestone year for Dad in that they were baptized into the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints in February, welcomed their first child, Ronald, in March, and accepted the job teaching fifth grade at Downey school in Cortez, Colorado. Having moved every year of his life...and sometimes 2 or 3 times in a year...Dean was here to stay. They did spend a number of summers building a farm in the vacant back country of Nevada from absolute scratch where they raised alfalfa, kids, and thousands of jackrabbits. Other than moving to the house south of town, Dean and Barbara stayed put! Four more children added stability to his family nest; Patti, Kristi, Vicki, and Steven.
40 years of teaching school in the same classroom. 40+ years of working with youth from all walks of life. 40+ years of coaching, volunteering, and organizing every youth activity imaginable. It would be surprising to find anybody who was actually raised in Cortez during those years that was not taught, coached, or helped by Dean Kirk in some special way.
Dean Arthur Kirk is survived by his wife of 64 years, Barbara; Children Ron (Katy) of Blanding, UT, Patti (Dave) of Thornton, CO, Kristi (Brad) of Provo, UT, Vicki (Nate) of Genola, UT, Steve (Allison) of Simpsonville, SC; 18 grandchildren; 30 great grandchildren. He was preceded in death by his parents; his younger brother Jim; and a grandson, Joshua Baker.
The family expresses gratitude for the generous support and love received. And thank you Dad for such a great legacy!