Floyd W. Kirkland

Floyd W. Kirkland, (Lt. Colonel USAF retired) 92, of Berne passed away at 11:45 a.m. on Tuesday, March 14, 2017 at the Adams Memorial Hospital in Decatur. He was born in Harrison Township, Van Wert County, Ohio to William C. and Margaret J. (Allen) Kirkland. He was married for 71 years to Rosalie Thatcher.

He graduated from Wren High School in 1942, and upon reaching the age of 18, volunteered for the Army Air Corp Aviation Cadet (pilot) training program. He was a veteran of WWII with 33 combat missions over Germany and central Europe and while awaiting reassignment to the Pacific Theatre the war ended.

As a civilian, he completed commercial refrigeration technical training with GM-Frigidaire (Dayton, Ohio) and was employed by the W. G. McKeddie Appliance Company (Van Wert, Ohio). He and his wife then formed a small business involving commercial refrigeration and appliance repair and sales in Ohio City, Ohio.

On weekends during this period as a civilian, he continued reserve military training and maintained flying proficiency with the USAF Active Reserve pilot program in Fort Wayne until being recalled to active military duty in support of the Korean conflict. After the Korean War, he elected to remain in the Air Force as an officer. He then served in the Vietnam War as a staff management officer in the establishment and operation of a combat airlift operations unit. His last overseas assignment was as a Commander of a joint US Army, Airborne and Air Force training and advisory unit in Saudi Arabia. He retired from the Air Force in 1972 with an accredited 30 years of service.

He then immediately accepted employment with Lockheed Aircraft Corp as a C-130 instructor pilot in support of Lockheed’s contract with the Saudi Arabian government (Royal Saudi Air Force.) From that time to his retirement from Lockheed in 1984, he held Lockheed management positions in flight operations, air and ground training and aircraft maintenance. His last position in Saudi Arabia was as a Lockheed Program Director.

Upon returning to the United States, he was again employed by Lockheed for two years at the Kennedy Space Center in special projects supporting the Lockheed contract with NASA.  In final retirement in Florida, he and his wife performed church and community volunteer work and worked part time as Florida Licensed Real Estate Associates and in property management. They returned to near their origins when in 2007 they relocated to Berne.

He always attributed what success he may have attained in life to God’s blessings, his parent’s guidance and in a great part to the German neighborhood in which he spent his childhood and teen farm life, and then to his wife of 71 years. He viewed his wife as his best friend and as a most intelligent and loving wife and an unusual person who could quickly adjust to hardships of frequent relocations around the world, difficult and challenging living conditions, long and frequent family separations all the while raising three sons and tending to family management and finances.

He was the recipient of several military awards and decorations, and was a resident graduate of The Air University Command & Staff College. He was a member of The Air Force Association, American Legion, Veterans of Foreign Wars, Dedaeleons (Military Pilots Association) and Ohio City/Rockford Masonic Lodge.

He attended the First Missionary Church in Berne and was a member of the Volusia County Baptist Church in Orange City, Florida. In earlier periods, they were actively involved in military chapel youth activities, and in later years in Florida, they were active in care for the elderly and the Meals on Wheels operations.

He is survived by his wife; three sons: Gregory Kirkland (Lt Colonel USAF Retired) of Ashburn, Virginia; Jeffery Kirkland (retired police officer) of Deleon Springs, Florida; and Joel Kirkland (sales representative) of High Point, North Carolina; three grandchildren, Kacey Kirkland-James; Jason Kirkland; and Meghan Kirkland-Meadows; two great-grandsons, Kelby James; and Seff Meadows; niece, Myrna Hendricks of Berne; and nephew, Dwight Habegger of Berne.

He was preceded in death by his parents; sister, Dortha Habegger of Berne; and two infant brothers.

Visitation will be from 6:00 to 8:00 p.m. on Friday, March 17 and one hour prior to the 11:00 a.m. funeral service on Saturday, March 18 at Alspach-Gearhart Funeral Home & Crematory in Van Wert, Ohio. Officiating will be Rev. Jeff Horsman.

Military graveside committal services will take place at Woodlawn Cemetery, Ohio City, Ohio by combined units of the Van Wert American Legion and V.F.W. Posts.

Memorials may be made to the Wounded Warrior Project.

Arrangements provided by Alspach-Gearhart Funeral Home & Crematory in Van Wert, Ohio. Online condolences may be made at www.alspachgearhart.com.