HENDERSONVILLE-Following a brief illness, Kirby fell asleep on September 27, 2013 to await the glorious resurrection with our Lord, departed family, and friends.
Kirby was born in Wake County North Carolina on August 4th, 1916 as the son of Eunice and Silas Campbell into a family of two sisters and six brothers. He was preceded in death by his son Scott C. Campbell and his wife of 60 years Darlene. His surviving family members are his two children son John Kirby Campbell and daughter Patricia C. Higgins, and her husband Terry; 3 grandchildren: Suzanne Higgins, Ryan Higgins, and Amanda Campbell; one adorable grandson, Ethan Micah Higgins; his only living sibling, Owen Campbell of Richmond Virginia and his wife Aline; numerous nieces and nephews; and his beloved companion Mary Armstrong.
Kirby began his family in New York , then settled in Miami Beach to raise his family until moving back to North Carolina in 1999, first Raleigh and then finally to Hendersonville. Kirby was a self-taught professional musician, playing and mastering all the woodwind instruments, especially the saxophone and flute, as well as the cello.
After serving two years in WWII in the Philippines, Kirby continued to pursue his musical career, playing in big bands, including several years with the Johnny Long Orchestra and the Sammy Spears Orchestra for the Jackie Gleason Show. He performed classical music as well as modern music with bands for an entire array of entertainers including Sinatra, Pressley, Streisand, Nat King Cole and many others. He was selected to perform a saxophone solo for the St. Petersburg Russian Orchestra, for which the orchestra members gave him a rousing applause of appreciation.
Although only having an 8th grade education, Kirby was a tenured professor in the School of Music at the University of Miami, where he taught saxophone and flute in the Department of Jazz until his retirement.
Kirby and his wife Darlene were baptized into the Seventh Day Adventist Church in 1977 through the influence of his mother and sister, becoming faithful members and followers of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.
In his retirement, Kirby continued to pursue his love of music, playing often for many church and vesper programs and at SDA Carolina Camp meetings, as well as recording numerous instruments in his home producing wonderful arrangements of beloved hymns and classical pieces to the delight of his family and friends.
Kirby was dearly loved by his family and all who knew him as a charitable, loving, Christian, southern gentleman. As the patriarch of the family he will be deeply missed until the Blessed Day.
A Memorial service will be held Saturday, October 5, 2013 at 4:00 PM at Hendersonville Seventh Day Adventist Church.
In lieu of flowers memorials can be made to Fletcher Seventh Day Adventist Church Building Fund, 1141 Howard Gap Rd., Fletcher, NC 28792.
An online register book is available for family and friends by visiting www.thosshepherd.com. Thos. Shepherd & Son Funeral Home Directors and Cremation Center is in charge of arrangements.
Published in The Times-News on Oct. 2, 2013