Mark Reece Kirkman

Published 9:47 am Friday, September 4, 2015

On Aug. 16, 2015, Mark Reece Kirkman died doing what he loved most: hitting the mountain bike trails with his sweetie not too far behind.

He lived life to the fullest—active and ready for the next big adventure. There wasn’t a trail he wouldn’t take or ride that was too long. He loved the outdoors and spent every minute soaking up the sun, relaxing on the beach, and making memories with those he loved. Whether he was rearing back in his chair or ankle-deep in the surf, he was always wearing his favorite old Appalachian t-shirt—often referred to as his island shirt. With a cold Bud Light and a big silly grin, he would insist on playing bocce ball, even when he knew no one else really cared to play. He would tell stories and laugh as he recalled crazy times with his old school friends who could never be replaced. He was never ready to end the day until the last speck of sun had faded. His love of the beach and his newest friend and pastor provided the perfect setting for his marriage to Sheila on Oct. 20, 2012. Surrounded by only his family, he pledged his oath to the woman he loved. He grew up in the Moravian Church and later found a spiritual home at Hillsdale Methodist Church, where he, Sheila, Celeste, and Jake were active members. He served in many ways, but his main passion was volunteering with the church’s food ministry. His 30-year career at US Airways provided many opportunities to build relationships and share laughs. He loved being a brother, son, husband, and stepfather, but his greatest joy in life was being daddy to his daughter, Celeste.

Survivors: his wife, Sheila Kirkman; daughter, Celeste Kirkman; stepson, Jake Tuttle; parents, Reece and Becky Kirkman; brother, Kent Kirkman; sister-in-law, Lisa Kirkman; and numerous cousins, aunts and uncles.

A worship celebration of his life was held Saturday, Aug. 22 at 3 p.m. at Hillsdale United Methodist Church in Advance. The family received friends following the service.

Memorials: Hillsdale UMC food ministry, 5018 US 158, Advance.