John Alvin Kirby was born on September 29, 1942 and entered the pearly gates of heaven January 23, 2020. He was born in Blanchard, Michigan, to Arbutus (Serrels) and Merlin Kirby. John came from very poor beginnings. He was born in a chicken coop and bullied throughout school, yet graduated homecoming king. He hitchhiked his way through college earning his degree in auto body repair and business management. He was medically discharged from the Marines and married Elizabeth Ann (Betty) Minarik September 11, 1965.
In 1971 he opened Kirby Auto Body and began serving the community with great compassion. John was poisoned in 1979, and advised he would never walk again. Through a miraculous healing, he began his personal walk with Jesus Christ, and he was not shy about letting the love of Jesus shine through to everyone he met. Challenges and trials were no stranger to John, but he always stood up for what was right, and followed it through to the end.
John was an incredibly talented archer, hunter, auto body technician, mentor, and master of mending pretty much anything that was broken… including hearts. John had incredible intuition and patience, but his most noted talent was his ability to love unconditionally, help others, and always pick people up when they were feeling down.
To those who knew him, John was the most compassionate, loving, caring, and helping father, grandpa, and friend a person could be blessed to know. He loved the Lord, he loved his family, and he had tremendous respect for the values America was founded on, and the soldiers who protect our freedoms.
On July 18, 2016 Betty entered heaven and John has missed her dearly since that day. While our hearts are saddened with the loss, today we know that he is in heaven. There is no more pain, suffering, or hurt. He is basking in the glory of his savior, and that is where we find our strength and comfort.
John is survived by his children: Kathy, Dianna Naczi (Joe), John and Emily, David (Niki), his grandchildren: Jamison and Alexis Hoeve, Jonathan, Breckin, Rian, Kalyssa, Kassidy, and Nicholas Howell, siblings: Cora Goldman, Sharron Wagner (Terry), Howard, Bob (Linda); extended family: Vincent and Margo Minarik, Judy Minarik, Andy and Marge Minarik, Joe and Viola Minarik, Barb Minarik, many nieces, nephews, and special friends.
A Mass of Christian Burial will be held at St. Cyril's Catholic Church, Bannister, MI, at 11:00 A.M. on Tuesday, January 28, 2020 with Rev. Fr. Rick Bokinskie officiating. Burial will take place at Riverside Cemetery, Elsie, MI. Visitation will be held on Sunday, January 26, 2020 6-8 P.M. and Monday, January 27, 2020 1:00-8:00 P.M. at Smith Family Funeral Homes Elsie, MI. A Special Time of Sharing will held on Monday, January 27, 2020 at 1:00 P.M. at the funeral home.
Memorials can be made to Thorny Acres Sportsmans Club or Ovid-Elsie Sports Boosters. Online condolences can be made to www.smithfamilyfuneralhomes.com. The family is being served by Smith Family Funeral Homes, Elsie, Michigan.
To send flowers to John's family, please visit our floral section.
Thorny Acres Sportsman Club
9550 East French Road, Elsie MI 48831
Ovid-Elsie Sports Boosters
8989 E. Colony Road, Elsie MI 48831