Melvin David Bernard Kirkland, Sr., 82, passed away Friday, September 27, 2019.
Melvin was born in Beaver Falls on October 1, 1936, to the late Jackson and Amanda (Singleton-Bullard) Kirkland.
In addition to his parents, he was preceded in death by his brothers, James “J.J.” Kirkland, Jackson Kirkland, Sherman Kirkland and a sister, Violet Lee-Kirkland.
Melvin “Bugs” attended Beaver Falls High School, where he was a star athlete lettering in basketball, baseball and football. He often was featured in the newspapers for his exceptional game-winning performances. After graduating in 1955, he married the incredibly beautiful, Hattie Jane Campbell of Midland, from which ten children were born and raised in a Christian home. They celebrated their 62nd wedding anniversary this year in June.
Melvin always had a reputation for being a ‘hard worker’. Although he was a local steelworker like many men of his generation, he was also a gifted tradesman and master plasterer. Melvin retired from NOVA Chemicals in Monaca, but also worked for many years at St. Joseph’s Lead and Zinc, Inc. in Monaca, and Armstrong Cork Works in Beaver Falls.
Melvin literally was “a dreamer”. He once said that he dreamed almost every night but couldn’t always remember the dreams. But one dream that did come true, was to invest (along with others) and buy several acres of farmland in South Beaver Township where in 1971, he alone would build a brand-new house for his wife and growing family. Despite the initial challenges associated with moving into an all-white neighborhood, “The Kirklands” went on to become one of the most beloved and respected families in the community having garnered lifelong friendships that remain to this day. In 1990 Melvin Kirkland and his family were featured in the Beaver Valley Tribune for successfully graduating a record ten children from Blackhawk School District in Chippewa, over a period of three decades.
Melvin loved farming. But there was nothing that he loved to do more than fishing! And, although it was often a family affair, there was no one that he loved to go fishing with more than his beloved wife, Hattie. Together (especially after his retirement) they would travel to their favorite lakes and streams in Pennsylvania and Ohio.
Melvin accepted the Lord Jesus Christ as a teenager and was a faithful member of Christ Temple Church of God in Christ. There he labored with the same fervor and dedication exemplified in other areas of his life; serving first as a Trustee and later Deacon. He also was a Sunday School teacher and Beaver Valley District Sunday School President and Assistant Secretary.
Melvin is survived by his wife, Hattie Jane Campbell-Kirkland; their ten children, Melvin (Candi) Kirkland, Jr., Michelle Burton, Cecilia Cummings (Calvin), Phillip Kirkland, Joseph Kirkland (Euchris), Lisa Hobson (Channing), Curtis Kirkland (Marie), Sylvia Johnson (John), Jason Kirkland (Cassandra) and Dwayne Kirkland (Sonya); two brothers, Leonard (Bimpy) Kirkland (Sheila) and John “Chuckie” Kirkland; two sisters, Carmilla Harris and Ethel Truss; two sisters-in-law, Vivian Kirkland and Betty Kirkland; 27 grandchildren and 17 great-grandchildren; lifelong friend and classmate, The Honorable Judge George “Tookie” James; a host of nieces, nephews, cousins and other extended family relatives.
Public viewing is scheduled at for Friday, October 4, 2019, from 5 to 7 p.m. immediately followed by a Memorial service at 7 p.m. with additional viewing on Saturday, October 5, 2019, from 10 to 11 a.m. followed by funeral services at 11 a.m. at Christ Temple Church of God in Christ, 2420 9th Avenue, Beaver Falls, PA 15010.
Funeral arrangements entrusted to GABAUER FUNERAL HOME & CREMATION SERVICES, INC., 1133 Penn Ave., New Brighton, gabauerfamilyfuneralhomes.com.
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