Tommy Kirk

Tommy Kirk (1908-1997)

from The Barwicker No.48

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It is with much regret that we record the death of 'Tommy' Kirk, on Wednesday, 8 October 1997. JOHN THOMAS KIRK was born, in Garforth, on 1 June 1908. At the tender age of 6 months he moved to Barwick where he was educated at Barwick Church School. He left school at the age of 13 years and at first obtained local employment in farming but it was not long before he was destined to change career.

He was attracted to building work and for many years worked on the houses then being built, in Scholes, by Messrs. Stockdale and Robinson. A few years after becoming works foreman, he started up his own building business in Barwick, trading under his own name. His activities were interrupted by World War II, when he served in the army attaining the rank of sergeant

On his discharge in 1947, he re-started his business. Demands for his services were constantly made by a high percentage of residents in both Barwick and Scholes. In those days any 'building' problem, large or small, could usually be solved by 'sending for Tommy Kirk'.

Tommy was a true 'Barwicker' who played his part in village affairs. For many years he was a leading member of Barwick Cricket Club. He served on the Barwick-in-Elmet Parish Council for a considerable number of years and was its Chairman in 1965/66 and again in 1973/74.

He and his wife Elsie subsequently retired, in 1985, to live in Filey. They very proudly celebrated their Diamond Wedding in 1991 and their recipe for a successful relationship was reported to be '"give and take" and "everything in moderation". I made regular visits to his home in Filey and latterly to 'Rylands'. Without a shadow of a doubt his 'roots' remained firmly in Barwick. His main topic of conversation was of Barwick - its buildings and its inhabitants. Pictures, photographs, books and scrapbooks relating to Barwick were always in evidence. He contributed much to the success of our Historical Society, presenting us with a set of traditional wood-working tools, and was always willing to reminisce with much enthusiasm.

In later years it became necessary for Elsie to move into the nearby 'Rylands Rest Home' where she died in 1994. Shortly afterwards Tommy relinquished his home and also moved into 'Rylands'. He is survived by his daughter Jean, his sister Margaret, two grandsons and two great-grandsons. He was a real character who will long be remembered.


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