KIRKPATRICK, Van Evers|
"In memory everything seems to happen to music." (Tennessee Williams)
Van Evers Kirkpatrick, 95, of Georgetown died Thursday, February 27, 2014. Van was born June 28, 1918, in Hillsboro, Texas, to Lee Evers Kirkpatrick and Van Kirkpatrick. In 1849, Van's grandfather A.Y. Kirkpatrick came to Hill County before it was formed and helped to organize it, later publishing a book entitled The Early Settler's Life in Texas, and the Organization of Hill County. When Van was 8, the family moved to Austin where he attended Pease Elementary and Allan Junior High and began his lifelong love of music.
In 1936, Van graduated from Austin High School where he was an outstanding trumpet player and a member of a national-contest-winning trumpet trio and entered The University of Texas as a music major. He was a member of the Longhorn Band and a charter member and first president of the UT chapter of Kappa Kappa Psi, a national honorary band fraternity. In 1939-40, he received a trophy for attendance and service to the Longhorn Band. One week after he graduated from UT in May 1942, he was drafted into the Army.
Van spent the first two years of his Army service during WWII at Camp Hulen in Palacios, Texas, and he played trumpet in one of the camp bands, performing with numerous Hollywood celebrities, including Rita Hayworth, who came to entertain the soldiers. Then he served 7 months in Europe with the 20th Armored Division as a medic and member of the 26th Special Services Company Band. The 20th ArmoredDivision helped liberate Nurnberg, Munich, Salzberg, and Dachau.
After WWII ended in Europe, Van spent 5 additional weeks in Antwerp, Belgium, at Camp Top Hat, playing with the Special Services Band to keep the troops entertained as they awaited passage home to the U. S. on whatever ships were available. He was scheduled to be sent to the Pacific Theater, but Japan surrendered before he was deployed.
Upon returning to civilian life in Austin, Van managed the record department at the University Co-op and created the Van Kirkpatrick Orchestra, a big-band group that played all over Texas for decades. And on June 4, 1948, he married Lillian Franks and began his family a couple of years later. In 1956, he moved the family to Corpus Christi where he managed Kelly's Music Store. In 1959, he began his career as a high school band director, including 10 years at Palacios High School, 5 years at Yoakum High School, and 5 years at Leander High School, and returned to UT during several summers to earn his Masters Degree in Music Education.
After his retirement in 1979, Van maintained his enthusiasm for high school bands, attending and recording numerous marching and playing contests over the years. Also, he was a member of the Longhorn Alumni Band, marching on Alumni Band Day for many years with the group. Van was especially excited when he, his daughter Karen, and his grandson Max IV all marched together at half-time at Longhorn Football games on Band Day. In 2013, he was the oldest member participating in LHAB activities.
Over the years, Van attended performances by favorite musicians such as Frank Sinatra, Doris Day, Cab Calloway, Louis Armstrong, Doc Severinsen, and Tony Bennett (on January 18, 2014). Also, he was devoted to his grandchildren, music, genealogy, road trips (especially to Ouray, Colorado), reading spy and mystery novels, walking, photography, and enjoying his life. He was an honest, gentle, kind, unflappable man who knew who he was and what he wanted and was not bothered by petty concerns.
"Music is love, love is music, music is life, and I love my life. Thank you and good night." (A.J. McLean)
Survivors include Lillian, his wife of 65 years; daughter and son-in-law Karen and Max Werkenthin III of Austin; son Mark Kirkpatrick of Georgetown; daughter and son-in-law Susan and Joe Prewitt of Elgin; grandson and wife Max Werkenthin IV and Melissa of Austin; grandson and wife Justin and Heather Belagia Davis of Elgin; granddaughter and husband Holly and Randy Hodges of Liberty Hill; granddaughter Heather Davis and husband Rey Rodriguez of Elgin; granddaughter Brianna Davis and companion Michael Ballenger of Elgin. Great-grandchildren are Sophia and Roman Werkenthin of Austin, Riley and Piper Davis and Ethan Rodriguez of Elgin, and Hayden Hodges of Liberty Hill. He is also survived by brother-in-law Cleburn Brinkman of Austin and sister-in-law Kathleen Franks of Seattle as well as 5 nephews and a niece.
Van's family extends its gratitude and appreciation to the staff of Hearthstone Health Center in Round Rock for the care provided to Van during his 5-year residence there. The family also appreciates Hospice Compassus for their care of Van during his last week of life.
The family will gather for a time of visitation on Sunday, March 2, 2014 at 12:00PM at The Gabriels Funeral Chapel, 393 North IH35, Georgetown. A service celebrating Van's life will be held at 1:30PM. Graveside services will follow at 3:30PM at Live Oak Cemetery, 200 Twin Creek Road, Manacha, Texas 78652.
Personal memories and words of comfort may be sent to the family at our online guestbook at www.gabrielsfuneral.com.
Published in Austin American-Statesman from Mar. 1 to Mar. 2, 2014