John R. (Rod) Kirby died peacefully at home in the loving presence of his family Wednesday, February 26, 2020.
He was born on December 27, 1949, the third son of William and Norma Kirby. He was educated in Unit 7 (Tolono) schools where he excelled in academics, basketball, track and baseball. Rod married Catherine (Robinson) Kirby on August 10, 1974.
He is survived by his wife and daughters Erin Kirby (Theo Long) of Savoy, IL and Leah Hendrix (Andy Hendrix) of Bement, IL; and three grandsons: Jackson and Samuel Long, and Andrew John Hendrix. He is also survived by his brother and sister-in-law, Robert and Claudia Kirby of Champaign; brother-in-law Douglas Robinson of Springfield IL; and sister-in-law, Mary Robinson of Prophetstown, IL. Rod was preceded in death by his parents, brother Richard Kirby, sister Gail Kirby, and brother-in law David Robinson.
Rod graduated from the University of Illinois in 1972 with a Bachelor’s degree in Psychology and in 1982 with a Master’s degree in Business Administration specializing in Finance. In 2018, he retired from Busey Bank, having led the commercial banking team. Rod embodied the values of humility, integrity, and honesty; he especially enjoyed mentoring others as his professional career grew to a close.
Rod lived by the Golden Rule. He was a stoic and quiet person, and his dry sense of humor was frequently a source of entertainment for lucky friends and family who appreciated his intelligence and wit and were the recipients of many expressions of generosity, kindness, and love. He gave his family a strong model of paternal guidance and love that we will pass on to his dear grandsons.
Our family is grateful for many kindnesses shown to us by family and friends over the past year, to all levels of healthcare providers at Carle Foundation Hospital and Clinic, to the oncology research team at the Siteman Cancer Center affiliated with Washington University and Barnes Jewish Hospital, and to the hospice team who helped us the last two days of his life.
A celebration of life will be held at the Urbana Country Club on Thursday, March 5 from 4 to 7 pm. Those wishing to send a memorial in Rod’s name can do so to the Cancer Center at Illinois cancer.illinois.edu/donate, or to MIB Agents (Osteosarcoma Research), mibagents.org.
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