James Neil Kirr 70, of Gloucester, Va., died peacefully in his sleep Thursday, January 21, 2010, in his home.
He was born November 12, 1939, in Canonsburg, the third son of the late Michael and Anna Malek Kirr.
Mr. Kirr graduated from Canonsburg High School in 1957.
He served in the U.S. Navy from 1958 to 1962. He went on to earn a bachelor of science, master of science and and Ph.d in geology from West Virginia University.
Mr. Kirr's professional career included teaching at the college level and the development of cutting-edge techniques on coal bed methane extraction. His later career consisted of ground water contamination cleanup work for the Department of Energy at the Savannah River Site in South Carolina. Before retiring in 2005, he served as a manager for the Department of Labor in North Augusta, S.C.
During retirement, he enjoyed working for the Colonial Williamsburg Foundation at several jobs, including work as a docent for Shield's Tavern Ghost Walk tours.
His passion was flying and he always wished he could have been a fighter pilot. He dearly loved his son, Neil, and spent many hours playing with him as a child. As an adult, he and Neil spent many hours doing projects together. This time is among his son's most cherished memories.
Mr. Kirr loved to garden and spent most of his days happily working the land to create a beautiful and peaceful place. He loved spending every minute possible with his beautiful granddaughters, who brought him true joy, and included a recent trip to Disney World, where he rode the fastest ride in the park and truly shared the magic with them. His last five years were blessed by many outings with his son's family, who live in Reston, Va.
"I think he was too young to die. I just can't find it in my heart to put him in a coffin and bury him in the ground. I love you, Grandpa," Delaney Aine, age 9, said.
"My Grandpa was so great because he was special in a very special way. I loved him very much. He died. I was so sad that I cried all the way to Nanna's house," his granddaughter, Mikayla Skye, age 5, said.
His son, Neil, said he is thankful for all that his father taught him, and will love and miss him very much.
Surviving are his wife, Linda Kirr; a son, Neil Kirr and wife Janna Kirr; brothers David M. and Gary W. Kirr; and two precious granddaughters, Delaney Aine and Mikayla Skye.
Deceased, in addition to his parents, is an older brother, John Paul Kirr.
Friends will be received from 5 to 7 p.m. Sunday in Mario L. DeAngelo Funeral Home, 194 East College Street, Canonsburg, where services will be held at 11 a.m. Monday, January 25. Full military rites will be accorded by Veterans of Foreign Wars Post 191 of Canonsburg and American Legion Post 902 of Houston. Interment will follow in Oak Spring Cemetery, Canonsburg, with a rifle salute, Taps and presentation of the flag of the United States of America by the Department of the Navy. An online guest book is available atwww.deangelofuneralhome.com.