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Garrett W. Kirksey

Garrett W. Kirksey

WILLIAMSBURG—Garrett Washington “Gary” Kirksey was born on November 3, 1931, near Lookout Mountain in Chattanooga, Tennessee and passed away, at the age of 92, on February 21, 2024, in Virginia Beach.

He was the son of the late James Washington Kirksey and Daisy Slaton Kirksey, and he is survived by his wife Caroline Watson “Polly” Kirksey.

Gary Kirksey is also survived by his four children, David Kirksey and his wife, Jamila Alaoui-Kirksey, Debbie Kirksey, Holly Watters and Bland Kirksey; along with three grandchildren, Timothy Watters, Hilary Lake and Ashton Kirksey.

Gary had a long and very active life. From the very beginning, he was “an outdoors soul.” From his childhood in Chattanooga, Tennessee, and Ft. Lauderdale, Florida, to his preteen through elder years in Charlottesville and Albemarle County, to his retirement years along the Chesapeake Bay in Kilmarnock.

Without a father from age five due to his dad’s early passing, Gary had the good fortune to be mentored by two caring Virginia gentlemen. Sam Derrickson and Mort Sutherland taught him all about the outdoors and initiated him into his lifelong passions for hunting, fishing and his deep appreciation for wildlands and wild game preservation.

When he was 15, Gary’s mom married Charles Nelson Beck of “Milton Farm” in Albemarle County. “Pop,” as Gary and the whole family came to affectionately call him—became the most terrific father and grandfather that any young man and his family could ever hope for. Gary purchased and took over full management of Milton Farm, turning it into a beef cattle operation and adding adjacent farmlands to it over the early years. Also in 1964, Gary and Jane Kirksey purchased and renovated “Tall Oaks Farm” (circa 1850) in Keswick, Albemarle County. They continued to operate both Milton and Tall Oaks until their retirement from farm life in 1984.

Gary Kirksey was a lifelong cattle farmer, avid fisherman and hunter. He was a horseman, a cracker-jack golfer, a consummately skilled boat captain and navigator, a snow and water skier, and just an all around athlete. He never seemed to tire or age. He was always on the go!

Gary graduated from the University of Virginia, where he earned his bachelor’s in commerce in 1953. During his college days, Gary was first baseman on the UVA varsity baseball team, an active member of the Beta Theta Pi Omicron Chapter, and a Recruit Officer Training Cadet (ROTC). During his senior year at UVA, Gary married his first wife and the mother of his children, Jane Pamplin of Richmond. Their marriage, the happy outcome of his “surprise blind date” with a beautiful Madison College girl, carried them forward for 40 years.

Following university graduation and appropriate military training service in Williamsburg, Gary was posted as first lieutenant in the United States Army to Ludwigsburg Germany, serving as a young officer in the 148th Transportation Battalion’s Truck Division. Accompanied by his wife Jane to Germany, the couple had their first child in Bad Cannstatt, in 1954.

Upon completing his service to the U.S. Army, Gary and Jane moved back to the Charlottesville area. During this time Gary was elected to the Albemarle County Board of Supervisors, where he was instrumental in helping to establish several new county parks and, notably, in instituting Albemarle County’s first zoning ordinance. He was pleased to see his home county growing with the times, but he did not want it to lose its natural beauty and farmlands to development.

Following his service as a county supervisor, Gary and several close friends founded the Charlottesville Savings and Loan Association, which was quite successful and eventually merged to become Jefferson Savings and Loan. After the merger, Gary was invited to join the board of directors and served in this capacity for over 25 years. Gary was also a member of Kiwanis International and a Mason.

Gary married his current wife Polly in 1993, and they moved permanently to Dividing Creek in Northumberland County. Here, Gary was able to continue pursuing his passions for gardening, hunting, fishing and he became involved with the Virginia Chapter of the National Wild Turkey Federation. Gary became involved with the Boys & Girls Club in Kilmarnock. Their activities brought him a great sense of joy and satisfaction. He and Polly were active members of Wicomico Episcopal Church for 20 years.

While living at “Tall Oaks” the family was active in the Keswick Hunt Club and Gary served as a deacon at Grace Episcopal Church. Jane and the kids, and Gary when he could get away from the farms, spent their summer months along the shoreline of the lower Potomac River, in Coles Point. These were glorious years for the family, and cemented Gary’s resolve to retire along the tranquil shores of the Chesapeake Bay.

The family invites anyone wishing to make an offering in Gary Kirksey’s memory to make a donation to any of the following: National Cancer Society, National Wild Turkey Federation, Boys & Girls Club of Kilmarnock, Wicomico Episcopal Church of Northumberland County.

Rappahannock Record Staff
Rappahannock Record Staff
From the Rappahannock Record news team
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