Lt. Col. John Carl Kirsch (retired Regular Army), age 96, passed away Friday, August 13, 2021 at Twin Lakes, Burlington, N.C.
Born in Kassel, Germany, he immigrated through Ellis Island as a child and grew up in New York City. During WWII, he joined the U.S. Navy as a teen, retiring as Pharmacist Mate 1st Class. He then made a successful career in the U.S. Army.
A scientist and man of letters, he earned degrees in biochemistry from Queens College, N.Y., and the University of Michigan and completed all but the dissertation for his doctoral degree before the Army ordered him back to active duty during the Korean War. He pledged Alpha Omega Phi fraternity. His curriculum vita includes a distinguished list of seminars, trainings and certifications at various military installations and universities, including Fordham, N.Y., and McGill, Montreal. He published scientific papers between 1953 and 1969, including some classified ones, and he was honored with numbers of military and civilian awards, including the Legion of Merit and two Army Commendation medals.
As a civilian, he worked for Pryridium Pharmaceutical and Geomet Research corporations. Later he worked on water control and soil and water conservation for the Commonwealth of Virginia and then medical insurance fraud prevention for the State of North Carolina.
John was happiest on the farm taking care of livestock, puttering in the barn, riding his tractor or most important helping a neighbor. He was committed to the church wherever he lived, most recently Saint Peters-in-the-Mountains Episcopal Church. He enjoyed playing the accordion, bagpipes and trumpet more than most enjoyed listening. He was known for his collection of collections. After he retired he learned Mandarin "for fun." He was an avid reader and military history buff. He was a Western movie aficionado, and he loved debating politics with his daughters.
John is survived by his wife of 59 years Sondra "Lee"; seven daughters, Wendy Sclight of New York, Candace Kirsch (Charles Faulk) of California, Robin Kirsch (Larry Hagerman) of California, Lisa Kinzer (Michael Kinzer) of Washington State, Kimberly Golombisky (Gregory Golombisky) of Florida, Desiree Davis-Omburo of North Carolina and Christian Smith (Douglas Smith) of Alabama; he was blessed with 12 grandchildren, Daniel, Matthew, Michael, Alexander, Cheyenne, Christopher, Robert, Dakota, Megan, Sean, Benjamin and Karl; and 11 great-grandchildren.
Memorial services will be held Saturday, September 04, 2021 at 3 p.m. at Saint Peter's-in-the-Mountains Episcopal Church, 65 Rock Ridge Road, Callaway, Va. 24067. His ashes will be laid to rest in the Saint Peter's Columbarium.
In lieu of flowers, the family suggests a contribution in John's memory to a charity of one's choice.
To share memories of Lt. Col. John Carl Kirsch, please visit www.seaverbrown.com. Care for John's family has been entrusted to Seaver-Brown Funeral Service & Crematory, 237 East Main Street, Marion, Va. 24354.