Colonel W. R. "Ray" Kirkland, 84, died in Lake City, Florida, Monday March 17th 2014. "Kirk" was born January 3rd 1930 in Lake City, Florida to the late Bernice Messer and Clarence N. Kirkland. He was raised in Olustee and graduated from Columbia High School and the University of Florida
He saw military service with the US Air Force as a jet pilot in the Korean War
and retired as a full Colonel in the Florida National Guard as a unit commander of the Selective Service System.
Ray's career included The Florida State Employment Service, Personnel Director and test pilot for Aero Corporation, Executive Vice President of the Lake City/Columbia County Chamber of Commerce, and Director of Public Relations for Occidental Chemical Corporation.
Ray was the Mayor of Lake City from October of 1996 until 2006. While in office, he served as president of the North East League of Cities.
Ray was preceded in death by his wife, Lucile "Busy" Summers Kirkland in 2000. He is survived by his wife, Mary Lou Bond Kirkland, his brother, C.N. Kirkland of Gainesville, and his sister, Margaret Kirkland Littlefield of Lake City.
He is also survived by his two daughters, Lynn Kirkland Sullivan (John) of Jacksonville, and Lisa Summers Kirkland O'Steen of Tallahassee, as well as his five grandchildren: Kirkland Cantey O'Steen, Jack Miller Sullivan, Thomas Summers O'Steen, Carrie Elizabeth Sullivan, and Drayton William O'Steen.
Ray was a member of Pi Kappa Alpha Fraternity, Lake City Elks Lodge
, First Presbyterian Church of Lake City (Elder). He was also a past Chairman of Lake City Community College Foundation.
Visitation will be held at Gateway Forest Lawn Funeral Home on Thursday, March 20th2014 from 5:00 to 7:00 PM. The funeral will be at The First Presbyterian Church of Lake City on Friday, March 21st at 11:00 AM. A celebration of his life will follow the service in the Fellowship Hall. Internment will be at 2:00 P.M. at Memorial Cemetery with full Military Honors.
Donations in his honor may be made to The Foundation for Florida Gateway College, 149 SE College Place, Lake City, FL 32025, Memo: "W. Raymond and Lucile Summers Kirkland Scholarship".