David Carlyle Kirkland, age 81, of 12219 Shanley Hill, Hallton, died unexpectedly on Thursday, Sept. 19, 2013 at the DuBois Regional Medical Center.
He was born Feb. 18, 1932, at the Shanley Homestead, Shanley Hill, Hallton, Pennsylvania, one of three children to Virginia Shanley and Claude Kirkland.
David married his beloved Frances J. Henry on Nov. 23, 1957, and they had been married for 56 years.
In 1949, David graduated from high school in St. Marys at the age of 17. He missed graduation to move to Washington, D.C., where he was employed as a fingerprint examiner with the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI). He was proud to have personally met J. Edgar Hoover, when called to his office for an interview. David left the FBI to serve four years in the United States Navy during the Korean War. After his military service, he was employed as a machinist in St. Marys before becoming a Game Protector with the Pennsylvania Game Commission. In 1958, David was a member of the ninth graduating class at the Ross Leffler School of Conservation. During his 10 years as a game warden he chased "jack lighters," was a trapper and an ardent proponent of wildlife.
In 1967, David became a Special Agent with the Department of Interior, United States Fish and Wildlife Service (USFWS). He was stationed in New Jersey, Delaware, New York, Colorado, Missouri, Washington, D.C. and Pennsylvania. David did numerous banding assignments in Canada and was recognized as an expert ornithologist. During his last 10 years with the USFWS he was assigned to the Special Operations Division and conducted extensive undercover operations along the eastern seaboard, Tennessee, Louisiana, Texas, Alaska, Montana, and other states.
His work took him throughout the United States and his family shared in his adventures. He was always drawn back to the family farm on Shanley Hill and religiously brought his family home every year to spend summers at the cabin and farm. In 1976, he moved the family back to the Village of Hallton. In 1992, David and Franny moved onto the farm, where relatives had resided since the mid 1840s, and with the help of family and friends, built a post and beam house out of rough hemlock and larch logs. Their house was always open to friends and family with a continuous stream of visitors. The gatherings were so extensive and of such duration, that one morning David woke up and asked Franny, "Who are all these people?"
David loved to farm with his brother, family and many friends. They raised beef cattle, built ponds, grew corn and potatoes and made hay, always managing the farm with wildlife habitat in mind.
In 1987, he retired from the USFWS and he and Franny traveled extensively with their pickup and camper throughout the United States, as far as Alaska. He and Franny enjoyed being campground hosts for the Forest Service in Wyoming, Arizona, and Georgia. David was a passionate fly-fisherman and planned their trips around premier trout rivers and streams. In retirement, he put his carpentry skills to use to help his children with numerous projects which included building a guest house and barn. David raised four children and his main goal was that they obtain college degrees, which they all did. He was very proud of his children: a forester, a school teacher, a DEA agent and an FBI agent.
David attended Penn State University and the University of Delaware. David was a lifelong member of the Hallton Church of Christ. He was a voracious reader, carved decoys, bred and trained hunting dogs, was a skilled carpenter, and enjoyed hunting and the outdoors immensely. David was a devoted Penn State fan and enjoyed attending football games with family and friends since 1978.
David was preceded in death by his mother and father, Virginia and Claude Kirkland; a brother, Albert Kirkland; and a nephew, Brian Kirkland. David is survived by four children, Mary (Sam) Baker of Williamsport, Fawn (Douglas) McMackin of St. Marys, Joe (Brenda) Kirkland, and Annie Kirkland and Ralph Nekuza. David is also survived by 10 grandchildren: Zachary Snavely, Shaylea McCray, Meghan Snavely, Celia Kirkland, Kristin McMackin, Maren Kirkland, Colter Kirkland, Wallace (Heather) Baker, Micah (Melissa) Baker, Katie (Brian) Lowry. Seven great-grandchildren also survive. David is survived by a sister, Janice (Jack) Sain of Brookville; and numerous nieces and nephews including three who played a large part in his life: Arlene (Barry) Reinard, Kimberly Sain and Kirk (Stephanie) Kirkland.
Big Dave and Franny had so many friends who mean so very much to them, it is impossible to list them all.
There will no visitation.
There will be a memorial service Saturday, Sept. 28, 2013 at 11 a.m. at the Hallton Church with Pastor Ron Burkett officiating.
In lieu of flowers, donations may be made to the WCO David L. Grove Scholarship Fund, Conservations Officer of Pennsylvania Association, 100 Nature Way, Milroy, PA 17063, (WCO Grove was killed in the line of duty in 2010), and to the Rocky Mountain Elk Foundation, 5705 Grant Creek, Missoula, MT 59808, telephone: (406) 523-4500.
The Thompson Funeral Home is entrusted with funeral arrangements.