15 West Ave. Spencerport, New York | 21 Main St. Churchville, New York
Obituary of Roger J. Kirkpatrick
Passed away on December 4th, 2020 at the age of 93. Roger is survived by his beloved wife of 67 years, Carol (Lewis) Kirkpatrick; sons, Wayne (Anna), Keith (Carolyn); 6 grandchildren, Jennifer, Brian, Shawn, Justin, Ryan, & Mary Ann; 9 great grandchildren; sisters Norma Kessler, Carolyn Schultz, Judy Chapell; favorite cousins, many nieces & nephews and so many dear friends.
Roger was a WWII Navy Seabee Veteran & Korean Army Airborne Veteran. Retiree of Eastman Kodak of 36 years. He volunteered at RGH, ED for many years and presently a retired volunteer for Aurora House Hospice home.
Entombment in Holy Sepulchre Cemetery, at the All Saints Mausoleum, family only.
Those wishing may contribute to the Aurora House, P.O. Box 21, Spencerport, NY 14559 or any no kill Animal Shelter or Lollypop Farm in Roger’s memory.
Village Spotlight by Glenn Harkins
This is the 10th Spotlight in a series of in-depth introductions of Mayflower Village residents with stories to tell that many of us never knew. This issue’s Spotlight stars are no exception, as you will learn as you read. Please feel free to nominate a neighbor for future features. It is a painless progress, and the chosen subjects are given the chance to skip or ignore any question in the process. Sit back and get acquainted with neighbors you may not know ell. You soon will know them much better. Let’s do a flashback to nearly a century ago. The year was 1912, and the place was Bridgend, Wales. The family of David Jenkins and his wife, Annie included five siblings, named Arthur, John, Enid, Muriel, and Martha. They lived in a lovely country home, called The Mount. The home was built on a hill which overlooked the plains below, where their barns and livestock were located. The Mount was a large two-story brick structure which housed the family of seven and the Nanny.
Even though the Jenkins family loved their beautiful home, they desired to venture to America, which they referred to as “the country of plenty.” David eventually sought the dream, placing his home for sale and purchasing tickets for the trans-Atlantic voyage to their new home in America. As the time to travel neared, the paperwork for the sale of their home had not been completed, so Davis was obligated to cancel their tickets to sail and booked another trans-Atlantic voyage for a later date. It was a blessing in disguise. The ship they were to initially take to America? The White Star Line’s Titanic, which was to travel from Southampton, England to New York, and as we all know now, the fate of those on the Titanic was a disaster for most aboard. The Titanic set sail with 2,228 passengers. Whether it was fate, or, as some believe, an arrogance and disregard for warnings of dangerous icebergs by the crew, the ship that was dubbed “unsinkable” by the owners, hit an iceberg and was at ocean’s bottom in less than three hours. The number of lifeboats was insufficient and only 711 survived, in shock as they watched the luxury liner find its grave, just south of Newfoundland, Canada. Had it not been for the Jenkins family’s changed plans, one of our Mayflower Villagers likely would never have been born. Meet Carol and Roger Kirkpatrick, whose mother was one of the delayed siblings, Muriel. It will be 100 years since the sinking of the Titanic that fatal morning of April 15, 1912, and when April 15, 2012 rolls around, the anniversary will have a special meaning for the Kirkpatrick’s.
Roger and Carol Kirkpatrick have lived at 7 Daisy Lane for 31 years, and Roger served as the first President of the Homeowners Association. They are the proud parents of two sons, Wayne, and Keith, who are married to Anna and Carolyn, respectively, and six grandchildren, Jennifer, Brian, Shawn, Justin, Ryan and Mary Ann. They also have five great-grandchildren, but we have some gaps to fill in before going any further.
Roger was born in Elba, NY. When he turned 17, World War II was in session. He decided to quit school and join the navy. His company from Sampson was drafted into the Sea Bees, and they were soon on their way to the action, arriving first at Hawaii, then after shipping out to the war zone, faced a ship breakdown, had to be towed back to Hawaii before going to the Island of Saipan, and eventually Okinawa. After his eventual discharge, he worked at Kodak for a year, but decided he needed something else and joined the Army Airborne (82nd). He gained the rank of Sergeant and was married to his first wife, Georgina Kelly. They were very happy together, but she became very ill and passed away after only six weeks of marriage. At the time Roger was only 20 years old and had a difficult time coping with the loss of her. According to Roger, “…After several weeks I finally used some pull with the general’s Aide de Kamp (I was the General’s driver) and managed a transfer to the 187th Regiment team in Japan, then Korea, and finally home for my discharge, which took place on my birthday.” Roger then returned to Kodak, where he worked for 36 years, mostly with Graphic Art and X-Ray sheet film. For 20 years, Roger was production Foreman in charge of inspection of both products. He would eventually retire from Kodak in March 1983 after a rewarding, lengthy career.
Meanwhile, Carol was growing up in Rochester and attending John Marshall High School. To her, the war was over and the world seemed pretty good to her. Having attended a Catholic grade school, she admits that attending a public school was a huge change for her. She discovered that there was a much more social life, and she liked it. Though she doesn’t admit looking for a husband, she describes the times as those days when “girls didn’t go to college. They got married.” Carol’s first job was at a local drug store while in high school, where she was “rewarded” with a salary of a hefty 43 ½ cents an hour. She considered herself to be rich.
Eventually, Roger and Carol met, a rather clandestine plot on the part of her two friends, who thought they would “hit it off”, and according to Carol, they did. Roger said that for him, it was definitely love at first sight that night at the Sugar Bowl ice cream parlor on Dewey Avenue. Roger’s first reaction when he entered the parlor was: “There, before me was a pretty little doll, pin curls, bandana and a lovely smile. Before we left, we had made a date, and that was it for me.” Carol said for her, it was “almost love at first sight.” Their first real date followed when they met at Domm’s Bowling Alley, and the rest is history. Roger was rooming a few streets from Carol’s house and frequently showed up for meals. Her mother loved it. They were married 10 months later in 1953, at Sacred Heart Cathedral. Their honeymoon was to New York City and Surf City, NJ, where they both were sun burned at the seashore. They returned to an apartment on Ridgeway to start their lives together in their own home. In June, they will celebrate their 67th anniversary.
That honeymoon began not only a long life together, but one filled with adventure. Their travels took them to Hawaii, Germany, Switzerland, Denmark, and numerous other European countries. They also purchased a motor home and traveled all over the good old USA. They wintered in Arizona and New Mexico, making a lot of friends while “winter camping.” They eventually purchased a home in Florida, and played the role of snowbirds, living there in winter and returning north in the spring.
Carol’s work experience did surpass the 43 ½ cents per hour at the drug store while in high school. Remember how rich she said she felt then? She began working at Kodak, a job she would leave after Roger and she started a family. She eventually returned for four more years, which for her was “very difficult.” She stayed home, and found work with an accountant and his insurance agent wife, where she worked for 20 years, earning the title of Office Manager along the way. When they moved to Mayflower from Greece, she worked part-time in a doctor’s office. She admits that she was always interested in the medical field, but “could never find time for the needed education.” Instead, she found herself volunteering to find what the medical field was all about. When her doctor once asked her why she hadn’t become a nurse, she responded, “I really wanted to be a doctor.” In an era when women just didn’t have such opportunities, one has to wonder how many dedicated female doctors were lost by the gender-bias which said that boys become doctors, and girls should be nurses. My, how the years have changed that.
Roger and Carol have become a model for giving their time to worthy causes. Both of them were volunteers at Rochester General Hospital for 20 years, and “loved it.” Now, as one of their main focal points of giving to worthy causes, they are active volunteers for the Aurora House near Spencerport. “It is very rewarding,” said Carol, and has opened up a whole new world of friends for us.
When the topic turned to Mayflower Village, both were asked what they most appreciated about living here. For Roger, the George Washington of the Village’s lineage of Presidents, it is the wide open spaces, the friendly people and the location, while the response of the Village’s Martha Washington of First Ladies, Carol, it is “the open grounds, no lawns to mow and no snow to shovel. Plus, I always enjoy meeting new people.” Asked what they might change if they were to become the HOA’s Board President, Carol admits that she wishes they could have been allowed to convert their deck to a sunroom, but thinks it is too late to consider it now. She also wishes that their end of Daisy Lane had been a dedicated street so the street would be plowed like other streets in the village. Roger was given the opportunity to respond to the same question, The resident man of wisdom’s response was brief. “Been there, done that. No comment!” Nuff said!
Roger is the consummate Buffalo Bills fan, as evidenced by his priorities and response to the Village’s Annual Fall Frolic. “If the Bills will be on TV, I won’t be there.” Wonder why the Frolic was moved to a Saturday last year? Good thing he isn’t a college football fan or it may have been on a Tuesday. Looking for still another shared interest in the Kirkpatrick’s, both were asked to list six current Bills. Roger listed eight, while Carol listed one, Ryan Fitzpatrick. It must have been the ___patrick which triggered the quarterback’s name.
Just for another view of how they think alike, a hypothetical question was posed to them both: It is Friday night and you two decide you want to eat out. Where would your spouse say she/he would like to go, and what would she/he order? Roger left it blank. Carol said he would want to go to the Johnson House, and would order the fish fry, and she would order broiled fish. Roger got what he would want. Why bother to respond? They both were also asked to name the one thing the other does better. Carol’s answer reflected a long time hobby of Roger’s, “Restoring furniture. He looks for furniture pieces discarded along the side of streets, or at the flea markets, and makes them new again.” What does Carol do better than Roger? “That’s easy at this time in my life,” said Roger “Everything!”
So what is on the horizon next for the traveling Kirkpatrick’s? Carol would love to travel to New Zealand to visit friends, in spite of the lengthy flight. Roger however says that they must first take a cruise on the Canandaigua Lady, since they have a free ticket given them in February, 2010. What’s the rush, right Roger?
The family photo which accompanies this Spotlight shows the third member of the Kirkpatrick family, Kaci. Only people who have had pets understand the emptiness created by the loss of a pet. Kaci came to the Kirkpatrick’s in 2000 and died in December. Carol was not ready to sell their home in Florida, but Roger said that if they were to sell their home and stay in North Chili in the winter, they would be able to have one more (last) dog. Roger recalls his introduction to Kaci: I knew she was ours the first time we saw her. She cuddles in my hand, looked at me and with those eyes said, please take me home. We did, and she was the happiest dog we ever owned. We know we can’t replace her, and don’t want to try.” To that, Carol added, “We will just try to enjoy all of the other dogs in the Village.”
And so, with that beautiful eulogy, what more needs be said? Thanks go to two wonderful neighbors for sharing your lives with us. When we hear of the 100th anniversary of the sinking of the Titanic, it will remind us of what might have been. We all are fortunate that you found each other and live among us.
15 West Ave.
Spencerport, New York 14559
21 Main St.
Churchville, New York 14428