Our father, our friend, our hero and protector, Loren A. Kirkland Sr., died Dec. 29, 2006.
Dad could tell many a tale. Born April 1, 1921, and raised in Williams Canyon north of Dryden, Wash., he would tell us of packing in cold beer to the sheep herding camps coming down from the Okanogan, retracing the southerly route of the Okanogan Indians as they made their yearly pilgrimage to the Camas Land.
His stories of how he and his friend Milo packed in supplies to the remote Ranger look-out stations in the Alpine Lakes Wilderness Area, hunting the canyon and sharing his kill with the neighbors, hiking and fishing the high lakes or hitching a ride on the milk train crossing the Cascade Mountains to visit his uncles, aunts and cousins in Everett. More stories of his time in the C.C.C. and during his service in the United States Navy in the South Pacific.
He was still in uniform when he met, and shortly thereafter, proposed, to our mother Rosemary Lee Paulus in Cashmere, Wash. For 63 years, and up to our mothers passing in December 2005, he remained devoted to our mother.
He worked hard and sacrificed all for his family, his oldest daughter, Rosemary, and husband, Bill Hawkins; his eldest son, Loren A. Jr., (deceased January 1999); his son, Scott, and wife, Mary Kirkland; daughter, Barbara, and her husband, Terry Neal; and youngest son, Joseph Kirkland. He was called Grandpa or Papa K. by his grandchildren, Julie, Holly, Eric, Adam (Michelle), BJ (Winter), Deja (Theo), Katie and Colby. Grandpa K by his great-grandchildren, Natasha, D.J. and Tyra. To our cousins he was Uncle Loren.
Uncle Loren would take us boys on hiking trips into the Alpine Lakes Wilderness, he would lead us, cook for us, help us build our shelters and catch fish enough to feed us all. He would find trails where there were none, his knowledge and familiarity of the area would take us from one clear, blue-green lake to the next, he would lead us through forest and over mountain passes, we would cross streams without getting wet and when he said turn left we all turned left and he would then lead us safely home, where all of us required his attention.
And gosh, did he love giving his attention to his girls, building play houses and doll furniture, building little armoires with little hangers to hang our doll clothes. He would push on the swing, play teeter-totter with us, taught us to ride bikes, took us sledding in the snow and cleaned and fixed our scrapes and cuts. Many a night in our teen years he laid awake during slumber parties, either because of the giggling girls, or standing vigilant for marauding boy friends. And still, all of our friends, boys (a lot of them) and girls alike were always welcome in our home. He would chaperone at our school dances, be our escort and be our partner at roller-skating recitals. And when we came in late or bent the rules a little bit, well, the punishment may come in the morning or he may just laugh at us. But we always knew, either way, that he just plain loved us.
He was the friendly meat cutter behind the counter at the Safeway store in Marysville. Always willing to talk, share a story or two (you pick the topic or he would), willing to give some advice about meat or just advice in general. Always quick to smile and quick to laugh, he was a proud man and respectful to others. He had hope. He held out the hope that when he engaged strangers in talk that maybe their day might be a little bit better for it and so might his.
He was Papa, Dad, My Best Friend, Pops, Loren, Uncle Loren, Grandpa, Papa K., Grandpa K, Sir and Mr. Kirkland. He was born in a time when hard work, honor, truth and fairness defined a man, when your word meant something and when deeds sometimes said more than words, when acknowledging a stranger didnt get you a strange look. Friends and family were welcomed into his home willingly and warmly. Dad raised us that way. And when we stumbled and fell and scraped our knee, he would help us up, bandage us and tell us simply,Youre all right, next time youll watch your step. We were raised that way.
With no conditions attached, he loved us. He cared for us, sacrificed for us, gave us guidance and gave us all his love. Family was all-important to him and we truly miss him. We will have to carry on from here and we will…our fondest memories, our lifes lessons learned and our respect for him will give us the strength.
Thank you to Providence Hospice and the Marysville Care Center staff for your help easing his pain and for the respect and caring you showed our father during his last hours. Thank you to Dr. Richard Terry and Paula Skomsky, RN for your gallant efforts.
Service will be announced later.
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