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.