James Joseph Kirchdorfer Sr.

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KIRCHDORFER, JAMES JOSEPH SR., 71, of Louisville, passed away on February 3, 2012 peacefully at his home with his family by his side.

Mr. Kirchdorfer was born in Louisville on May 9, 1940, the son of Joseph and Louise Schildt Kirchdorfer. He was a graduate of Saint Xavier High School and attended Bellarmine University.

Jim was a lifelong entrepreneur. In 1962 he founded Kirchdorfer Irrigation Company and Irrigation Supply Company out of the back of his father's hardware store on Baxter Avenue. The two companies teamed up to install the first automatic underground golf irrigation system in the state of Kentucky. He was also the first to install a multi-row irrigation system using HDPE pipe. Many of his innovations are now an industry standard. The Kentucky Turfgrass Council awarded Jim the Winfrey P. Bunton, II, Kentucky Turfgrass Man of the Year in 1998.

Irrigation Supply Company, which later became ISCO Industries, is still headquartered at the same location on Baxter Avenue. Jim was chairman and founder of the company, which has grown to 25 locations in three different countries. For nine straight years, ISCO was listed as one of the 50 fastest growing companies headquartered in Louisville.

Jim had played golf his entire life and believed that golf taught many valuable life-lessons. He saw the need for additional golf courses accessible to the public. In 1988, Jim and a group of partners formed Golf Development Construction Company and built Quail Chase Golf Club in Louisville. In the 1990's he was involved in the development of Hidden Creek Golf Club in Sellersburg, IN, Maywood Golf Club in Bardstown, KY and The Bull Golf Club in Richmond, KY. In 1999, Golf Development Construction received the award of Golf Course Builder of the year award in the small builder category from Golf Course News Magazine.

Jim was very active in local and national organizations. In 1971, Jim and a group of his industry colleagues formed the Golf Course Builders Association of America (GCBAA), where he served as president from 1994-1996. GCBAA awarded him the 2006 Perry Dye Service Award, and in 2012 awarded him the Don A. Rossie Award, which is presented to "an individual who has made a significant contribution to the game of golf and its growth." Jim was also a founding member and supporter of Sticks for Kids, a charity which provides junior golf clubs and teaching materials to golf courses, municipalities and youth organizations to enable kids from all socioeconomic and ethnic backgrounds the opportunity to play golf.

In addition, Jim was active in Greater Louisville Inc., served on the board of First Tee of Louisville, and held many volunteer positions at St. Leonard Church and Hunting Creek County Club. Jim received the 2008 Preservation Award from the Louisville Historical League for the restoration of the building his grandfather built on Baxter Avenue in 1902.

Jim was preceded in death by his parents, Joe and Louise Kirchdorfer; and sister, Sue Dierker.

He is survived by his beloved wife of 45 years, Carolyn Galligan Kirchdorfer; daughter, Teresa Gardone (Craig); sons, James Jr. (Dana) and Mark (Emily); seven grandchildren, Claire, Grace, and Anna Gardone, Jay and Emma Kirchdorfer, and Kate and Sarah Kirchdorfer; sister, Rosemary Dowd; and numerous nephews and nieces, great-nephews and great-nieces.

Jim will be remembered as a family man that always put the needs of others ahead of his own. Throughout his life, he generously supported numerous educational institutions and sponsored many students with tuition assistance. Jim's passion for family, business, travel, golf, and sports brought him close to many people. He will be missed.

Jim's family would like to thank his dear friend, Dr. Tony Hubbuch for his loving care throughout Jim's illness.

The funeral will be celebrated at 10 a.m. Tuesday, February 7, 2012 at St. Leonard Church, 440 Zorn Avenue, with burial to follow. Visitation will be from 1-6 p.m. Sunday and 1-4 and 6-9 p.m. Monday at Highlands Funeral Home, 3331 Taylorsville Road. Burial is in Calvary Cemetery Expressions of sympathy may be made to Sticks for Kids Program care of the GCBAA Foundation or St. Xavier High School.

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Published in The Courier-Journal from Feb. 4 to Feb. 6, 2012
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