Zilpha Burr Kirk Saratoga SpringsZilpha Burr Kirk, 100, passed away Sunday, November 17, 2013. Born in Lone Tree, Iowa on February 12, 1913, Zilpha grew up on the family farm. In 1919 her father loaded up the Buick, headed for Colorado with his wife and young children, and drove the Pike Peak's Highway. Road trips and curiosity about the world thereafter marked Zilpha's joyful habits. She graduated from Iowa City High School and the University of Iowa. In 1935 she married Karl D. Kirk (deceased 1995) and in 1936 the couple moved to Schenectady. Zilpha balanced home and family with community and social engagement. She participated in AAUW, served on the Schenectady YWCA Board of Directors, and enriched the life of the First Reformed Church of Scotia and Circle Joanna. A 70-year member of the PEO sisterhood, Zilpha served as the founding president of chapter AN of Scotia. With friends she took in antique sales, the theater, and the Metropolitan Opera. Zilpha's excellence in housewifery affirmed her well-being and garnered others' admiration. She cooked, canned, knit, stitched, and disciplined. In her home dust did not settle and clothes did not wrinkle. She reared her children to be tolerant, self-reliant, and mildly obsessive. In mid-life Zilpha and Karl acquired and restored a Ballston farmstead. There they gardened, entertained, and summered with their grandchildren. The Kirks traveled to Europe, Asia, and the South Pacific. Through the tumultuous year of 1968, they lived in Mexico City where Zilpha learned Spanish and broadened her political horizons. A hungry reader, she commanded an English vocabulary that surprised and delighted. Books are my life, she declared in her 101st year. Zilpha is survived by friends and family including her sister, Florence Miska; son, Karl Dallas Kirk Jr. and his wife, Barbara; daughter, Julia Kirk Blackwelder and her husband, Jere; five grandchildren; and five great-grandchildren. All thank her for a life well lived. A memorial service will be held 12 noon Friday, November 29 at the First Reformed Church of Scotia, 224 North Ballston Avenue, Scotia. Memorial contributions in memory of Zilpha may be made to the Schenectady YMCA, 44 Washington Ave., Schenectady, NY 12305 or First Reformed Church of Scotia, 224 N. Ballston Avenue, Scotia, NY 12302. Online remembrances may be made at www.armerfuneral home.com.
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Published in The Daily Gazette Co. on Nov. 22, 2013