The Joplin Globe, Joplin, MO

June 16, 2013

Dr. Robert Edward Kirkman


The Joplin Globe

MIAMI, Fla. —  

Dr. Robert Edward Kirkman, 96, passed away on June 12, 2013, in Miami, Fla.

He was born in New Haven, Conn., on Feb. 15, 1917. He graduated from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, and he received his medical degree from Rush Medical College in Chicago. While in Chapel Hill, he met and married the love of his life, the former Eleanor Maupin, of Newport News, Va.

At the onset of World War II, Bob volunteered for the United States Navy. During wartime, he was commissioned as a Lieutenant Junior Grade. He was deployed to Sydney, Australia, where he treated the war injuries of fellow servicemen in a base hospital. He was later promoted to Lieutenant in the field and he was transferred to the 60th Construction Battalion in New Guinea.

He was a longtime resident of Key Biscayne, Fla., where he lived since 1976. A board certified otolaryngologist and plastic surgeon, he joined a medical practice at Mercy Hospital. He treated patients in Miami until his 82nd year. He was active with the Key Biscayne Rotary Club, the Navy League and the American Legion. He was also instrumental in the successful campaign to rebuild Key Biscayne's beaches.

Prior to relocating to Florida, he practiced medicine in Joplin, Mo., where he served as president of the Jasper County Medical Society. He was also on the staffs of both St. Johns' and Freeman Hospital. He was an elder in the Presbyterian Church, an officer of the Rotary Club and a board member of the YMCA and Chamber of Commerce.

A true Renaissance man, he included music among his many interests and he played the violin throughout his lifetime. While a student at the University of North Carolina, he performed with the North Carolina State Symphony Orchestra, rising to the position of concert master. He continued to play and perform throughout his years in Miami, becoming a member of the Alhambra Community Orchestra and participating as a principal in many concerts. At the age of 75, he became a certified scuba diver and took up the hobby of downhill skiing.

His beloved wife, Eleanor, to whom he was happily married for 52 years, preceded him in death.

He is survived by his son, Brent; daughter, Lynn Mackle; son-in-law, Robert Mackle; grandsons, Rob and James; granddaughters-in-law, Jennifer and Cia; and great-grandchildren, Colin, Hayden and Janie.

Burial services will be private. A memorial service will take place at 3 p.m. on Wednesday, June 26, at Key Biscayne Presbyterian Church on Key Biscayne. There will be a viewing at the Van Orsdel Funeral Chapel at 4600 SW 8th Street from 4 to 6 p.m. on June 18.

In lieu of flowers, the family suggest that memorial contributions be made to The American Red Cross.