1937 - 2016
1/30/1937 - 6/2/2016 Kirk was born January 30, 1937 in Shantung Province, China. His father was a Presbyterian missionary and his mother, a medical doctor. His family came back to the US during WWII, returning to China after the war until the communist takeover. In 1949, they moved to Medford, Oregon where his father became the pastor of the Presbyterian Church. Kirk graduated from Medford High School in 1954, received a BA from Stanford in 1958 and an MA from UC Berkeley in 1962. During the years of Governor Ronald Reagan's administration, he served as Deputy Director of Finance under Caspar Weinberger and Chief Deputy State Controller under Houston Flournoy. For eight years, he was CEO of the California Taxpayers Association. In 1983, he was appointed Secretary of Business, Transportation and Housing in the Administration of Governor George Deukmejian. He then served 13 years as President and CEO of the California Chamber of Commerce. In all of these jobs, he was deeply involved in efforts to protect California's competitiveness and job climate. He believed in public and private partnerships and bipartisan problem solving. He led a number of campaigns to defeat anti-business ballot measures and initiated the Chamber's long running "job killer" program to fight anti-business legislation. He supported campaigns to provide construction funding for transportation, water and education and participated in many national and international trade and investment missions. In the seventies, Kirk was a trustee of the San Juan School District and later a guest instructor on state and local government at UC Davis. He served on several corporate boards, including Blue Shield of California, Wyle Elec- tronics, Delta Dental, the Federal Home Loan Bank of San Francisco. A longtime member of Northridge Country Club, Kirk loved golf, tennis, travel, classical music, opera, Mount Shasta, the Giants, the Warriors and his iphone. A wonderful story teller with a great sense of humor, he had many friends. Above all, he loved his wife, his children, stepchildren and many grandchildren. They all loved him dearly. He was a unique human being: intelligent, funny, principled, a true gentleman of imposing stature. Kirk is survived by Kathleen, his wife of 33 years; his three children, Sarah West (Mark), Jennifer West (Ray) and David West; stepdaughters, Sharon Hilliard (Bill) and Christine Sutherland; grandchildren, Charles, Isabelle, Josephine, Natalie, Christopher (Jessica), Rachel, Rebecca; brother, Bruce, sister, Priscilla (Chris). A Celebration of Life will be Saturday, July 9, at 2:00 pm, at Northridge Country Club, 7600 Madison Ave. Fair Oaks. Donations in Kirk's name may be sent to his favorite charitable group, the Orangevale Food Bank, P.O. Box 2963, Orangevale, CA 95662. He hated the thought of anyone being hungry after witnessing starvation while growing up in China.
Published by The Sacramento Bee on Jun. 12, 2016.
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Celebration of Life
Northridge Country Club
7600 Madison Ave, Fair Oaks, CA
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7 Entries
Kirk was a great mentor to me and a good friend in the chamber world
Zoe Taylor
June 8, 2020
Our prayers and love go out to Kathleen and family. He was my childhood friend and I shall miss him and his wonderful sense of humor and intelligence. He sang at my Klamath Falls High School. Diane Bagley
July 26, 2016
Dearest Sarah, Jennifer and David, I was so sorry to hear of the passing of your wonderful father. He was truly a a mentor to me early in my career. I will always remember your Dad as a kind, caring and brilliant man whose wisdom and advice always came from the heart. He was a true leader and I admired him for his honesty, integrity and the love he had for his family. I was truly honored when he agreed to be one of my sponsors for membership in the Sutter Club back in 2000 when very few women were accepted into the club. Your father will always have a special place in my heart and in the hearts of many, as you all know. He was truly a magnificent man. May God Bless you all during this time of great sorrow. Please find peace in knowing that he had a great life and that you were all there to share it with him.
Lori Kammerer-Donahue
July 6, 2016
Thank you for the kind comments about my dad and grandfather. I was exceptionally lucky to have such a great dad.
Jennifer West
June 23, 2016
Kirk's father, Kirk Sr and my father were classmates and best friends at Coe College and then at Princeton Seminary, many years ago. Both went on to very effective careers in the Presbyterian Church.
While I only saw Kirk Jr perhaps 2-3 times over the years, most recently when he and Kathleen came to visit me in Sutter Creek and took home a large folder of photos and mementoes of our two fathers, it was clear to me that he was truly as good a man as his Dad,gentle, wise,caring,truly committed to making the world a better place. He will be missed.
Sally( Laurie) Murphy
June 16, 2016
Viki Benbow
June 16, 2016
As a new chamber executive, Kirk welcomed me into the chamber industry with open arms. He was a true gentleman. We all benefitted from his leadership. My thoughts and prayers go out to his family.
Zoe J Taylor
June 15, 2016
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