James Keck VanKirk, M.D., 83, of Fort Valley passed away Friday, July 31, 2015 at his farm surrounded by family. On October 12th, James’ five children will hold a memorial service before God at the VanKirk Farm in loving memory and honor of their parents’ lives together. Please contact the family at firstname.lastname@example.org for more information.
Born November 26, 1931 in West Newton, Pennsylvania, James was son of the late John and Anna Katherine Keck VanKirk. James first met Elizabeth Pickering in his undergraduate English class at the University of Pittsburgh, and both graduated in 1953. Three years later, in August of 1956, James Keck VanKirk married Elizabeth Perkins Pickering. A year later, in 1957, James received his Doctorate of Medicine from the University Of Pittsburgh School Of Medicine. Following his internship, he served as an officer in the Public Health Service, moving his growing family first to California, then to Alaska. In 1960, his service complete, he settled into the community of Chambersburg, Pennsylvania, joining Dr. David Rahauser in general medical practice. Ever devoted to his patients, “Dr. Jim” became a fixture in the Chambersburg community, delivering babies, making house calls, and admitting patients to the hospital. He lived and worked there for thirty-six years with his devoted wife, Elizabeth, steadfastly by his side raising their five children.
In 1996, Elizabeth and James retired to their beloved family farm. They remained active, as always, in their church, and James volunteered at the Saint Luke Community Clinic in Front Royal while Elizabeth gave her time and effort to the Fort Valley library. In the last few years of James’ life, Elizabeth having passed away, you might have found him driving his pickup around the farm counting cattle, lying on his couch watching college basketball, or perhaps offering occasional medical advice to a visiting neighbor or friend.
Surviving are Randy and Kathy Storm of Lewisburg, Pennsylvania, Andy and Becky Neslund of Anchorage, Alaska, Jim and Tricia VanKirk of Veazie, Maine, Jon and Meg Reneslacis of Cumming, Georgia, and Bob and Susan VanKirk of Allen, Texas, nineteen grandchildren and two great-grandchildren.
Memorial contributions can be made to a charity of choice.