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His Life

Words from Tracy Soto, Sister October 8, 2011

October 14, 2011


 Kirk would have enjoyed being at this gathering of family and friends wouldn’t he?  Can’t you just see his great big grin and hear him chuckle?


Kirk lived every day with zest!. His very bright, inquisitive and wondrous mind was always in search of new experiences or new understandings. His positive and kind spirit showed through in all his actions.


Our families have known each other for over fifty years, but we became a family when Kirk’s Pop, Herb married our Mom over 29 years ago.   We blended our families and we blended our hearts…Our sense of family and genuine love for one another has grown over these many years. It was with profound sadness that we learned of his passing last week…


But we are happy in knowing that over the past ten years, since Kirk’s retirement, Trish and Kirk embarked on a new adventure together. They sold their home in California, purchased a 30ft motor home and traveled on walk-about throughout the US in search of the location they would call home. Their travels took them to the East Coast, stopping to check out the Adirondacks where Kirk had very fond memories of summers spent on Lake George in upstate New York…where my sister lives with her family…to AZ where I live with my family… exploring…..meeting new people…seeing how people lived in all parts of this great country…


Their hearts brought them back to the West Coast and settling in the Pacific Northwest.  Kirk shared with us stories of the beauty of the nature that surrounded them, the pods of whales they sighted and always invited us to come out to take a trip on their boat. Oh my, the boat!!  I know the pleasure Captain Kirk received from the boat.  Captain Kirk…very appropriate since he loved boating and astronomy…as a matter of fact, there is a meteor shower today from noon to 2pm, so we expect him to fly by and wave!  Along with great pictures of the grandkids, we often received a photo of them enjoying their boat…on the back of one that Trish took of him captaining his yacht, he wrote “Life just doesn’t get much better than this”…he was doing what he loved with the ones he loved…surrounded by all of your love.


He loved the life they were living and felt very lucky that Megan and Shane lived close by so that he and Trish could be an active part of Perry and Ellie’s lives….he LOVES his grandkids …  we received many photos showing them as they explored the world with Grandpop …all the new and exciting things they shared together.  You have been the sunshine of his life!


Kirk Strong was a STRONG man in every sense of the word: Strong in his positive spirit of optimism…Strong in his bright inquisitive and wondrous nature…Strong in his faith… Strong in his long, loving and enduring marriage to Trish and lastly Strong in his love for his family… his family has been so important to the central core of his life.  Kirk loved you all more then we will ever know…


There is a training tool in Toastmasters when someone is giving a speech, if they um or er, or uh then someone rings a bell to remind them…(ring)


In church traditions, bells are used for many purposes…to summon people to worship, the beginning or end of service, as part of musical worship, in celebration and remembrance…(ring)


In nautical terms, a ship’s bell was used to mark time…an hour glass was turned every half hour and a bell was rung to signify what time it was… 2 bells, or 4 bells, or “8 bells and all’s well”…a ship’s bell is rung to signify that the Captain or other person of importance has boarded the ship…a ship’s bell is also used to inspire honor, courage and commitment to defense of our nation…(ring)


There is a poignant line in that traditional Christmas movie classic “It’s a Wonderful Life” that every time a bell rings, an angel gets their wings… (ring)



I would like to read a poem attributed to a soldier at Gettysburg…







Do not stand at my grave and weep
I am not there. I do not sleep.
I am a thousand winds that blow.
I am the diamond glints on snow.
I am the sunlight on ripened grain.
I am the gentle autumn rain.


When you awaken in the morning's hush
I am the swift uplifting rush
Of quiet birds in circled flight.
I am the soft stars that shine at night.
Do not stand at my grave and cry;
I am not there. I did not die.



Because he believed, because we believe, we will see Kirk again…

Brief Overview of an Amazing Life

October 8, 2011

 Gordon Kirk Strong, 73, of Anacortes, passed away unexpectedly on Tuesday, September 27, 2011.

He was born on July 22, 1938 in Evanston, Illinois, the son of Herbert & Ruth (Hazlet) Strong.

Kirk enlisted in the U.S. Army and served under the Kennedy Administration at the Pentagon. His career was initially in the computer industry and later, ventured into an entrepreneurship with Team INA and Amway.

Kirk had varied interests which included history of the growth of Christianity, astronomy, music (bagpipes and recorder), boating and woodworking. He was a member of the Anacortes United Methodist Church and served as their webmaster for eight years.

Kirk was active in Toast Masters, Cub Scouts and the Republican Party.

He is preceded in death by his parents and brother Steven.

Kirk is survived by his wife of 42 years, Patricia; son, Derek Strong, a professor in Arlington, VA; daughter, Megan and son-in-law Shane Cemore of Anacortes; grandson Perry and granddaughter Elanor, who were essential in his life. He is also survived by his sister-in-law, Sohny Strong of Maui, HI and the Rimany family of Schenectady, NY and the Soto family of Chandler, AZ.