November 28, 1932 ~ October 15, 2010
Byron Eldredge Kirkland, known as "Pop" or "Kirk" to the many people who loved him, died on the morning of October 15, 2010, at his home in Lilburn, GA. He was 77. Byron started his life in Auburndale, FL, where he was born on November 28, 1932, to James Daniel and Bernice McCallister Kirkland. He was the second son and the younger brother of the late Henry Kirkland. Byron graduated from Thomas Jefferson High School in Tampa, FL, in 1950. He was a four-year member of the marching band and played the trombone. He also was a member of the art club and won the Scholastic Regional Art Award. He participated in the school's Junior Reserve Officer Training Corps program for three years. In his late teens Byron was offered a chance to play trombone in the Barnum and Bailey Circus Band, but he needed permission from his father who was not ready to have young Byron "run off to be in the circus." Instead, Byron accepted a position with the Federal Bureau of Investigation in Washington, DC. That decision would change his life forever. Washington is where he met the love of his life, Shirley Ann Moore, and they married in March of 1952. Their first son, Curtis Wayne, was born a year later in 1953, followed by Michael Shane in 1954 and Keith Douglas in 1958. During the first years of married life Byron attended and graduated from Strayer College in Washington. The Kirkland family lived in Alexandria, VA, at the time, and every weekend and vacation was spent on the farm in Emporia, VA, with his in-laws. There Byron was surrounded by a large family and enjoyed the life of an outdoorsman. He was an avid recreational fisherman for most of his life and shared his love of the sport with his sons and grandchildren. The 1960s brought a change in profession for Byron as he began a sales career with Honeywell's computer division. He settled the family in the Greenville, SC, area and went on to achieve spectacular success, selling five major computer systems in one year and earning his company's top recognition, "The Walter Finke Award," in 1965. As the computer industry evolved, so did Byron. His final move brought the family to the Atlanta, GA, area, specifically the Gwinnett County town of Lilburn. He held several jobs in the computer industry, finishing his professional career at Allied Systems in Decatur. He retired from Allied in 1998 but continued to work for the company as a private contractor until six weeks before his passing. Byron and Shirley were active members of Campus Church of Christ in Norcross, GA, for over 37 years. Byron is survived by his wife, Shirley, his three sons and daughters-in-law Curtis and Barbara Kearns, Michael and Berney, and Doug and Lori, eight grandsons, and six great-grandchildren. Byron's family will receive visitors on Saturday, October 23, at Wages and Sons Funeral home at 1031 Lawrenceville Highway in Lawrenceville beginning at 10 a.m. A memorial service celebrating the life of this true "Renaissance man" will follow at 11 a.m. at the same location.