You Are Always in My Heart, Old Friend

My Friend Richard Kirtley
Died Yesterday, April 8, 2017.
He was 78 years old.
Rest in Peace, Dear Brother!

 

This moment of black – shall never subtract – the life glow that burns in your eyes

That broad Kirtley smile – that spreads for a mile – shall never dissolve from great size

And when we’re all done – with all of the fun – that sucks tears from laughter as cries

You’ll still be the one – getting up to go run – while the rest of us sleep, swatting flies.

____________________

Dear Readers:

Richard “Dick” Kirtley has been a close friend since our early high school days. He was a year behind me at St. Thomas, but we were both from the east end and had a lot in common. He also had played an excellent brand of football at St. Thomas as  an interior linemen back in the both ways on offense and defense days. Teammate Mike Mulvihill, one of our star running backs, likes to say that he remembers Kirtley as the guy in the line who knew how to lead block. At any rate, even though small in size, as many players were back in the day, Kirtley went to Texas A&M in 1957 to play under then head coach Bear Bryant. After Kirtley’s freshman year at A&M, however, Bryant heard the “mama call” from Alabama. That fact and the death of Dick’s own father that year induced Kirtley to transfer to UH and to play football for the Cougars.

Richard met his wonderful wife Laura at UH. A former cheerleader at UH, Laura married Richard In June 1967. As one of the wedding party members, we all had been looking forward to the Kirtley’s 50th anniversary party this summer – as well as Richard’s induction on April 29, 2017 into the St. Thomas High School Athletic Hall of Fame.

Then the stunner came late yesterday afternoon. After his normal heavy workout, Richard had come home to enjoy a nice meal with Laura. He lay down to take a nap, but never awoke. The exact cause of death is still under determination, but his family and all of his close friends – all of us – are still in shock, in spite of the fact we all know that this sort of thing can happen to any of us at any time. I will write more when I am able. I loved this man like a brother. And the loss is great for all of us who knew this great, loyal, lover-of-life family man that was 100% Richard Kirtley.

All I can offer for now is a rewinding of “The Clock of Life” and a request for your positive thoughts and/or prayers for Richard Kirtley, his wife Laura, his married daughter Kristin and His married son Ryan. And their spouses and children too.

The Pecan Park Eagle is flying at barely half mast today.

Godspeed us all!

____________________

The Clock of Life

By Robert H. Smith

The Clock of life is wound but once,

And no man has the power,

To tell just when the hands will stop,

At late or early hour.

 

To lose one’s wealth is sad indeed,

To lose one’s health is more,

To lose one’s soul is such a loss,

That no man can restore.

 

The present only is our own,

So live, love, toil with a will,

Place no faith in “Tomorrow”

For the Clock may then be still.

____________________


Bill McCurdy

Publisher, Editor, Writer

The Pecan Park Eagle

Houston, Texas

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10 Responses to “You Are Always in My Heart, Old Friend”

  1. materene Says:

    Bill, so sorry you lost such a great friend. There is no best way to leave this life, however I think to lay down and peacefully leave is a blessing in many respects. At 19 I was a gunner on a UH1 gunship in Vietnam for almost 3 years. I was forever changed and tempered knowing how short life can be. If you make it to 50 you were already blessed and anything beyond was a gift. I have lost my closet friend in my school days there in Houston and I think about those days he and I and others on our block all played little league for the Buffs in the Heights. To be the proxies and continue living for those that are gone is the greatest thing we can do to remember them.

  2. Rick B. Says:

    “Each man’s death diminishes me,
    For I am involved in mankind.
    Therefore, send not to know
    For whom the bell tolls,
    It tolls for thee.”
    – John Donne

    Losing family members & friends is tough. My condolences, Bill.

  3. Randy Says:

    Condolences to family and friends. A great Cougar, no doubt.

  4. roy bonario Says:

    MY PRAYERS ARE WITH HIS FAMILY. MAY HE REST IN PEACE IN THE ARMS OF THE LORD.

  5. Becky wyatt Says:

    Dr. Bill :I have always savored your talents for writing, your wonderful compassion for friends and family your undying loyalty’s. I’m so sorry for your loss of your dear friend. Blessings to you and may God bless .Becky Wyatt

  6. Patrick Callahan '56 Says:

    BILL:
    Again I am sad with/for you. I never really knew Richard at STHS, but your comments remind me of how close many of us were there especially from the different areas (Parishes) of the city. Houston was not so huge, crowded, congested, and “metropolitan” in those days – we did tend to “clan” together – East End,- Southwest – Heights, near North Side – etc. Yet we all interacted at many times, and “clans” were often mixed in various classes – thus blending more and larger of a “Duke’s mixture” that often “jelled”when confronted will issues – problems? Losing a close friend . . is losing a blessing that you cherished, but did not realize how truly valuable that “blessing” really was until it was gone!

    Take care
    Semper Fidelis
    Callahan ’56..

    • roy bonario Says:

      I AGREE PATRICK, I WAS CLASS OF ’52 AND LIVED IN THE EAST END, THE EASTWOOD PARK AREA, AND MY CLOSEST FRIENDS AT STHS WERE BOYS WHO LIVED BETWEEN THE AREA OF THE PARK AND MILBY ST., MOST OF WHOM ARE GONE NOW, AND YES BILL, IT’S REALLY TOUGH TO LOSE ONE OF LONGTIME YOUR FRIENDS

  7. neal brown Says:

    Losing a loved one is so “final”. My father told me when I was young that one thing you cannot do, and that is to keep someone from dying. I even think maybe God knows at the time of one’s birth the exact time they will return to their Maker. It is such a mystery. However, all of us know that our time here is short. We all face the end, and I think it is really important to be loved while you are here and it seems that your friend was greatly loved by many. I am sorry
    for your loss, and thought the poems were very meaningful.

  8. JM Says:

    Loved reciting Goodfella’s lines with him. Also loved how much he laugh at my Boston accent. He will be missed.

    ~JM

  9. Mark W Says:

    I offer my condolences for your Loss Bill. It’s humbling to know how quickly things can change.

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