Wil­liam ‘Ed’ Kirk Jr.

Re­tired Na­tional Se­cu­rity Ad­min­is­tra­tion of­fi­cial worked in en­gi­neer­ing at Fort Meade and men­tored many co-work­ers

Baltimore Sun - - OBITUARIES - By Jac­ques Kelly jkelly@balt­sun.com

Wil­liam “Ed” Kirk Jr., a re­tired Na­tional Se­cu­rity Ad­min­is­tra­tion of­fi­cial, died Mon­day of com­pli­ca­tions from pneu­mo­nia at Gilchrist Hospice Care of Howard County. He was 81 and lived in El­li­cott City. Born in Bal­ti­more, he was the son of Wil­liam E. Kirk Sr., an Edge­wood Arse­nal civil­ian em­ployee, and Anne Kirk.

Fam­ily mem­bers said that as an 11-yearold, he con­tracted po­lio, un­der­went surg­eries and spent a year in the Ker­nan Hospi­tal near Dick­eyville.

“For most of his life, he walked with a cane. He over­came this ob­sta­cle and many ob­sta­cles in his life,” said his daugh­ter, Kim­berly Hess of Pasadena. “He went on to play bas­ket­ball and soft­ball. He played un­til he was 70, and then he man­aged the teams.”

Raised in Edge­wood, he was a grad­u­ate of the old St. Stephen’s School in Brad­shaw and earned a bach­e­lor’s de­gree from the Univer­sity of Bal­ti­more. He also stud­ied elec­tri­cal en­gi­neer­ing at the Johns Hop­kins Univer­sity.

“He had an out­go­ing per­son­al­ity and was so very friendly,” said his daugh­ter. “No­body was a stranger to him. As a se­nior ex­ec­u­tive, he was down to earth and friendly. Even in his top job, he did not wear a tie. He wore cow­boy boots and one of his Ori­oles or Dodgers jack­ets. He rarely wore a suit to work.”

He first came to the NSA in 1958 un­der an RCA con­tract for an an­tenna de­sign. In 1961 he joined the agency, and at the time of his 1995 re­tire­ment he was deputy chief of in­stal­la­tion and lo­gis­tics.

Fam­ily mem­bers said he man­aged 1,300 peo­ple who did fa­cil­ity main­te­nance, en­gi­neer­ing and con­struc­tion at the Fort Meade fa­cil­ity.

He had pre­vi­ously been deputy direc­tor of its Of­fice of Se­cu­rity for 11 years and deputy direc­tor of the Of­fice of Con­tract­ing for three years.

“He was a men­tor to many co-work­ers and had no prob­lem mo­ti­vat­ing them,” said his daugh­ter. “For all his strengths as an en­gi­neer, he was not com­puter-savvy. He wrote his notes out on yel­low le­gal pads and car­ried a pack of 3-by-5 note cards.”

Mr. Kirk was a char­ter mem­ber NSA’s Se­nior Cryp­to­logic Ex­ec­u­tive Service. He re­ceived his agency’s Mer­i­to­ri­ous Civil­ian Service Award and the Pres­i­den­tial Rank Mer­i­to­ri­ous Ex­ec­u­tive Award.

At one time he held sea­son tick­ets to the Bal­ti­more Colts, and also cheered for the Ori­oles — as well as the Dodgers in Brook­lyn and later Los An­ge­les.

He played and coached soft­ball for the Bal­ti­more Belt­way Se­nior Soft­ball League.

“I played ball on the same team with him for 20 years,” said Frank Kitzmiller of Day­ton in Howard County. “He man­aged the team for years. Our won-loss record was con­sis­tently good. He brought his per­son­al­ity to the team. He was a good man­ager, and he had a good head on his shoul­ders.”

“Ed was prob­a­bly one of the best Ori­oles fans who walked the streets of Bal­ti­more,” said Charles Nos­sick, a friend who lives in Pasadena. “We­worked to­gether at the same or­ga­ni­za­tion, and he was a great lis­tener. And more im­por­tantly, he took ac­tion.”

Mr. Kirk trav­eled ex­ten­sively over­seas and also en­joyed vis­its to Hil­ton Head Is­land, S.C.

He was a col­lec­tor of Chevro­let El Caminos, a car that is part pickup and part sedan.

“He liked having the con­ve­nience of the com­bined car-and-truck thing,” said his daugh­ter. “He also liked sporty black cars, in­clud­ing his Jaguar sedan. He never had a sta­tion wagon. There were six of us years ago in the fam­ily, and at that time he drove a big Chevy Im­pala Su­per Sport.”

He would spent a por­tion of week­ends wash­ing his ve­hi­cles. “He kept his cars in such good shape, peo­ple were al­ways ask­ing if his ve­hi­cles were for sale,” his daugh­ter said.

A Mass of Chris­tian burial will be of­fered at 11 a.m. Wed­nes­day at St. Paul Catholic Church, 3755 St. Paul St. in El­li­cott City, where he was a mem­ber.

In ad­di­tion to his daugh­ter, sur­vivors in­clude his wife of nearly 14 years, Joyce Hain­ley; two other daugh­ters, Kristina Klock­ner of Marl­boro, N.J. and Ker­rie Beth Cham­ber­lain of Birm­ing­ham, Ala.; a step­son, Frank Hain­ley of Lau­rel; two step­daugh­ters, Maryann Spekis of Wood­lawn and Tracy Mi­ci­che of Arnold; a sis­ter, Sharon Dellinger of Ne­vada; 17 grand­chil­dren; and eight great-grand­chil­dren. His first wife, El­iz­a­beth “Bet­tye” Howard, died in 1999. A daugh­ter, Kandi Kirk, died in 2004. Wil­liam Kirk “had an out­go­ing per­son­al­ity and was so very friendly,” his daugh­ter said.

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