Robert died August 1, 2012, of natural causes. He was born on September 14, 1919 in DuBois, PA of parents Frank E. Kirk and Franceska Marie (Scott) Kirk. Robert was preceded in death by his sister Franceska (Bebe) Marie Kirk Patton. Mr. Kirk was married to Elizabeth Lawler Kirk in July 1945 and was preceded in death by his beloved wife Betty in June 2005. Their family included daughter Terry E. Guignon and husband James; son, Robert S. Kirk Jr. and wife Eliza Newell Kirk; grandsons, John and Josh Mobley and Robert Scott III and Maximilian Kirk; and two great-grandsons, Jaden Noah Mobley and Bayler James Mobley.
At a young age Robert’s family moved from DuBois, PA to Indiana, PA where he was reared and schooled. He graduated from the Indiana University of Pennsylvania in June 1939 with a B.S. Degree and major in Chemistry; he was immediately drafted into the army and was honorably discharged after five years of service as a Captain in the Chemical Warfare Service. For many years the family lived in East Lansing, MI and then in Rumson, NJ and Memphis, TN. In 1976 domicile was established in Naples, FL.
Mr. Kirk began his career in 1946 in the chemical industry with three other army officers, in a small chemical company in Michigan. In 1948 he resigned from this company to go with a larger company that offered him a partnership. This latter company was known as the Consolidated Industrial and Agricultural Chemicals Corp. Robert was the President and CEO. The Union Carbide Corp. purchased this company in 1962 and the name was changed to Grower Service subsidiary of Union Carbide, Robert keeping his same positions. In 1967 Mr. Kirk was transferred to the office of Union Carbide in New York City as director of all of Carbides Agricultural operations. In 1970 Union Carbide Corp. proposed and offered to sell his former company to him, which was successfully negotiated; the company was renamed Kirsto Corporation. In 1976 Union Carbide expressed a desire to repurchase the Kirsto Corp. This was accomplished and Robert was employed as a Vice-President of the Union Carbide Corp. in New York City. In 1980 an opportunity presented itself to take over a bankrupt corporation in Memphis, TN as President and CEO which was successfully accomplished. In 1983 Robert resigned to retire. In 1985 he was enticed out of retirement by the Crompton-Knowles Corp. to take over a subsidiary company in Florida that was near bankruptcy. After three years the company was made viable and Robert retired. Mr. Kirk also served as a member of the Crompton-Knowles Executive Committee.
For many years he served on the Board of Directors of the National Agricultural Chemical Association and also on the Executive Committee. He was honored by his University by being granted the Distinguished Alumni Award for achieving unusual success in the business field. Robert along with Betty enjoyed golf and other outdoor activities. He was a past president of the Country Club of Lansing and belonged to the following clubs – Country Club of Lansing, Otsego Ski Club, Gaylord, MI, Royal Poinciana Golf Club, Naples, FL, Chickasaw Country Club, Memphis, TN, Deal Country Club of Deal, NJ, Rolling Rock Club, Ligonier, PA and Atrium County Club of New York City.
A chapel service will be held at 1:00 p.m. on Tuesday, August 7, 2012, at Deepdale Memorial Gardens Mausoleum, 4110 Old Lansing Rd., Lansing, MI.