Cover photo for Robert "Bob" Kirkland's Obituary
Robert "Bob" Kirkland Profile Photo
1937 Robert 2021

Robert "Bob" Kirkland

August 23, 1937 — January 21, 2021

Robert Keith Kirkland went to be with the Lord on January 21, 2021, at the Mayo Clinic in Jacksonville with his wife, daughter, and son by his side.

On August 23, 1937, he was born in Mayo, FL., to Little Levi Kirkland Sr. and Lily Virginia Kirkland. Robert, or “Bob” as he was known to family and friends, devoted his life to serving the Lord, his family, country, and church.

He earned a Bachelor of Business Administration (Summa Cum Laude) from Jones College in Jacksonville, FL., was a veteran of the United States Air Force, and served in Korea, Texas, and Florida. Upon completing his enlistment, he was employed by the Federal Aviation Administration as an air traffic controller in Albuquerque, N.M. In 1964, he married the “love of his life” Rita Elaine Bartow and subsequently transferred to the Air Route Traffic Control Center in Hilliard, FL. Upon retiring as an air traffic supervisor in 1988, he started a second career with the Washington Consulting Group.

Bob was an avid outdoorsman, commercial pilot, and flight instructor. He was given the nickname “Bob the Builder” as he could construct, repair, or design practically anything. Whether it was a boat, aircraft hangar, trailer, barn, house, or other complex problem; Bob developed ingenious solutions for every situation. He also invested much of his life in others during his 35-year tenure as a deacon at the First Baptist Church of Hilliard.

In addition to his parents, he was preceded in death by his sister Betty Jo Strong, brothers Fredrick Richmond Kirkland and Jerry Ronald Kirkland.

He is survived by his devoted wife of 56 years Rita Kirkland; sister Patricia (Elmer) Coker, brother L.L. “Sonny” (Janie) Kirkland; children, Chris (Jennifer) Kirkland, Vanessa (Robert) Allen; grandchildren, Amanda Duerden, Robert D. Allen, Rachel Allen; great-grandchild, Eleora Duerden.

Due to the pandemic, the family will hold a private service and memorial service details will be posted later.

In lieu of flowers, the family request that donations be made for the purpose of helping with Waldenstrom Macroglobulemia or Florida Covid plasma research, to the Mayo Clinic in Jacksonville at:

Please share your memories or condolences at

Arrangements are under the direction of Shepard-Roberson Funeral Home in Folkston, Georgia

To send flowers to the family in memory of Robert "Bob" Kirkland, please visit our flower store.


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