Robert Edward Kirk

Published 4:35 pm Tuesday, June 22, 2021

Robert Edward Kirk, 87, of Smithfield, passed away peacefully on Monday, June 21, 2021, after a long battle with Alzheimer’s. He was the son of the late Arthur Dale Kirk and Stella Jane Foster Kirk. He is survived by his loving wife of 61 years, JoAnn Sauer Kirk; daughters, Tracy Stern (Peter), Linda Dinga (Anthony) and Laura Copps (Greg); grandchildren, Cole, Kirk, Phoebe, Owen, Lauren, Ian, Kiley and Tyler; and his sister, Elizabeth Cramer.

Bob grew up in Flint, Mich., where he spent his summers at Higgins Lake and graduated high school from Cranbrook in Bloomfield Hills.

Bob received a degree in government international relations from Carlton College in Northfield, Minn. He aspired to play football at Carlton until the track coach (also the football coach) persuaded him to join the track team. During his track career at Carlton, Bob broke numerous records and told stories of running against greats like Bobby Morrow.

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After college, Bob moved to Syracuse, N.Y., for a job with General Electric and the opportunity to meet his future wife, JoAnn Sauer. After marrying JoAnn in 1960, they moved with their daughters, Tracy and Linda, to Apalachin, N.Y., where he began his 30-year career as a federal contracts manager at IBM’s Federal Systems Division.

During that time, they had another daughter, Laura, and spent many years on the sidelines supporting their girls while they played softball, soccer, gymnastics and ski raced. Bob’s blue eyes beamed with pride when he spoke of his family, which was witnessed by all who met him.

He had a passion for hunting and fishing and was often found on his boat sporting his bucket hat with a rod in hand and good friend by his side.

After retirement, Bob and JoAnn moved to Smithfield and spent their years boating, golfing, biking, playing tennis, traveling and spending time with their daughters and eight grandchildren. Bob was active in his community, serving on the vestry at Christ Episcopal Church and singing, proudly, in the choir. He also volunteered for the Isle of Wight sheriff’s department, where he was instrumental in establishing an online neighborhood watch program.

Bob had a unique way of making people feel special and will be dearly missed.

A memorial service will be held at 2 p.m. Saturday, June 26, at Christ Episcopal Church, 111 S. Church St., Smithfield. In lieu of flowers, the family requests donations be made to Christ Episcopal Church. Online condolences may be shared at