Kirby, Jane

April 13, 1922 - July 8, 2013

Jane DeFir Kirby passed away peacefully in her lifelong city of residence, Dallas, Texas on July 8, 2013.  She was 91 years old.

Jane was born in Dallas on April 13, 1922 to Mary Frances and Haley M. DeFir.  She is preceded in death by her beloved husband, Hal Parks Kirby.  They were married on Groundhog’s Day, February 2, 1941.  Hal Kirby was the Director of the Dallas Museum of Natural History at the time of his death in 1978 and was an employee of the museum and the City of Dallas for 42 years.  Jane was the consummate museum director’s wife and partner, charming and supportive and well known in the Dallas community.

Jane was also preceded in death by her daughter Christi Kirby Suber and her son Mike Kirby.

Jane is survived by her daughter Barbara E. Kirby and son-in-law Sid Burall of Dallas.  She is also survived by her grandchildren Chris Agee of Dallas, Jason Agee of Simpsonville, South Carolina, and Lara Williams of League City, as well as Andrew Suber and Martin Suber of Alpine.  Jane also has four great-grandchildren: Sydney, Layla and Luke Williams, and Nolan Agee.

Jane and Hal were among the original members of St. John’s Episcopal Church in the 1950’s, where Jane directed numerous church productions that were anticipated with great joy by the parishioners each year.  She made many lifelong friends, including the group of ladies affectionately known as the “Octavia Blumfeld Society.”

Jane volunteered for numerous organizations throughout her life, from the Dallas Civic Ballet to Bryan’s House.  Jane loved all music, the arts, was a voracious reader, excellent writer, and avid moviegoer.  Jane was truly eclectic: during the 1990’s and early 2000’s she and Barbara were season ticket holders to the Dallas Symphony Orchestra, The Dallas Opera, The Dallas Cowboys and the Dallas Stars.  She witnessed performances by some of the greatest artists of her time, including Marian Anderson, Luciano Pavarotti and Itzak Perlman, but she also witnessed Emmitt Smith breaking the all-time NFL rushing record and spent Millennium Eve at a Dallas Star’s game.  Jane was a fixture in the Lakewood/East Dallas neighborhood and her engaging and cheerful demeanor will be missed by everyone who knew her.

Jane was a beautiful woman, and was the subject of three portraits by prominent Texas artist Olin Travis, a dear friend of Hal and Jane.  All of those who visited her home will remember seeing the amazing formal portrait, completed by Travis in 1954.

In accordance with her often-stated wishes, there will be no service.  In lieu of flowers, please make a donation to a charity of your choice.  A couple of Jane’s most recent favorites are The Stewpot and North Dallas Food Bank.

The family thanks the staff at Monticello West for their excellent care during the last year of Jane’s life.

Arrangements under the direction of:
Aria Cremation Service and Funeral Home
10116 E. NW Highway
Dallas,Texas 75238

5 replies on “Kirby, Jane”

Bobbie Howard says:

Jane was married to my father (Lane Howard)s cousin. Both he and Hal worked at the museum. My memory of her is that she was always such a beauty and very outgoing. You were fortunate to have had her with you for so long.

Mrs.Bill J. (Lee) Strehorn says:

My husband was a special friend with Hal and traveled with Hal and the Dallas Museum. I remember Jane best at St. John’s Episcopal Church and the Octavia Blumfeld Society. She was generous with herself, her talents and her time. While we lost touch in later years I will treasure the times we had together. Sincerely, Lee

Rosemary KIirby Whitten says:

I am so sorry for your loss. Please know that you are in my prayers. My family and I used to go see Uncle Hal each year we went to the fair.
Rosemary Kirby Whitten, Howard’s daughter.

Jeanine McDonald Cuellar says:

Thanks to Jane and her daughter Barby I became an Episcopalian after going to summer church Camp Crucis with Barby. May the Light Perpetual shine upon Jane and her loving family. We gleefully drove to elementary school every day in Jane’s carpool of us kids – always a happy trip and an appreciated ride. I will be having many happy memories of Jane and her daughters and her son whom I remember most from a trip Barby and I took to California when we were 21 to visit him. With love and sincere condolences – Jeanine McDonald Cuellar now in Austin, TX

Bobbie and Dave says:

Dear Barbie and Chris and family, We are so very sorry for your loss. As you reflect on Jane’s life, I hope you take some solace in knowing what a long and happy life she led. We will always remember the enthusiasm and exuberance that she brought to our get togethers and all of the wisdom that she imparted to us. I have always strived to live as full and rich a life as she did. Sincerely, Bobbie and Dave

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