November 28, 1953 ~ June 18, 2021
A forever resident of the Clearwater Valley passed away suddenly of a heart attack.
He was born to Billy G and Addie Mae (Baldwin) Kirkland on his brother Lenny’s, 1st birthday. At the age of 6, the Kirkland’s moved their family from Syringa to Kooskia where he lived until the day of his new journey.
Joe went all 12 years of school in the Kooskia school system. His working career began as soon as he was “taller than the huckleberry brush”. He logged with his dad and “Uncle Buster”on the Clearwater and NezPerce National Forests in the summers from grade school thru high school. Joe played sports in school but really enjoyed the Ham Radio Club the most. He joined the Air Force “to see the world” after graduating CVHS in 1971. He was stationed at Mtn. Home AFB in Southern Idaho the entire time….small world? Honorably discharged from the AF, it was back to the South Fork homestead and he bought it from his parents. He went to work for Clearwater Forest Industries immediately and was the Pitcher for The CFI men’s soft ball team. They won several Championships and were “The team to beat”. Joe cherished the bonds he had with those team mates. In the mid 1980’s Joe traveled to Alaska thinning trees, and then back to the lower states to work construction for a few years in Colorado and Wyoming. He was struck with cancer in 1993, and was told he had a narrow margin of surviving the surgery or treatment after. With family support, he was determined it would not get the best of him and it didn’t. He moved in with his cousin Debi and her kids in Boise and was a model out patient at the VA hospital for many months. Finally, South Fork bound again, he decided to expand on his electrical abilities. He studied hard and got his electrician license. He mainly worked on sawmill circuitry and electronics. In 2010, another reroute to his “world” ensued due to a new cancer development. He and Debi flew to Stanford Medical center in Ca. He found out he had a fractured spine and a brain tumor that went from the back of his eye into his a brain. The medical team was astonished at all the things he had been doing.. The very first thing they did was slap a full support back brace on him.. He joked about how it was like something a pro football player wears….they said it was.. The week before the brace, he had climbed to the top of the Highest peak in the Kirkskills of Northern Idaho. He said he felt like he was in heaven. Little did he know it really “could” have been, that day. This time, he retired. His failing eyesight because of the tumor made it impossible to see the hair size wire and the spine injury caused his back to spasm and hurt to much to crawl through tight spaces. Joe was an avid reader, loved to hike, watch soccer, (sometimes on two TV’s at the same time) root for the KC Chiefs, read and write letters to the editor and spend time with his cousin Deb and her family. His Christmas traditions were especially looked forward to. Thanksgiving began the planning for the smoked beast. Followed by which new liquor would he be trying. And the final event of Christmas Eve….the White Elephant Exchange always guaranteed to bring bantering and laughter. It culminated to sleeping much of the day Christmas Day. If you knew Joe, you knew he was quiet and a deep thinker.
His parents, two brothers, Billy and Lenny, and his “Uncle Bus” (Bill Baldwin) are among the many loved family members and friends to greet him in his new world. Missing him in this world are His sister, Deone (Bob Beveridge)their children Soni (Todd Kimsey) and Sean Beveridge, brother Jim Kirkland of Stites, Debi (Joe Venneman) her children, Ember, Riley, Reydon and Rowen (who called him, Uncle “Apple” Joe) and his “like a brother” and best friend Alf Thomsen as well as numerous cousins and fabulous friends. He was a “Gem of an old Idaho Hippie.”
The memorial for Joe will be at a later date and posted on Facebook.