Floyd W. Kirkland
Wednesday, March 15, 2017 12:35 AM
BERNE, Ind. — Floyd W. Kirkland (Lt. Colonel USAF retired), 92, of Berne, passed away at 11:45 a.m. on Tuesday, March 14, 2017, at the Adams Memorial Hospital in Decatur, Indiana.
Floyd was born in Harrison Township, Van Wert County, Ohio, to the late William C. and Margaret J. (Allen) Kirkland. He was preceded in death by two infant brothers and a sister, Dortha Habegger of Berne, Indiana.
Floyd is survived by his wife, Rosalie (Thatcher) Kirkland, in a marriage that spanned 71 years, and by three sons, Gregory Kirkland (Lt. Colonel USAF retired) of Ashburn, Virginia, Jeffery Kirkland (retired police officer) of Deleon Springs, Florida, and Joel Kirkland (sales representative) of High Point, North Carolina. Also surviving are three grandchildren, Kacey Kirkland-James, Jason Kirkland and Meghan Kirkland-Meadows; great-grandsons, Kelby James and Seff Meadows. A niece, Myrna Hendricks, and a nephew, Dwight Habegger, who reside in Berne, Indiana, also survive.
Floyd graduated from Wren High School in 1942, and upon reaching the age of 18, volunteered for the Army Air Corps Aviation Cadet (Pilot) training program. He was a veteran of WWII with 33 combat missions over Germany and central Europe and while awaiting reassignment to the Pacific Theatre the war ended.
As a civilian, he completed commercial refrigeration technical training with GM-Frigidaire (Dayton, Ohio) and was employed by the W. G. McKeddie Appliance Company (Van Wert, Ohio). Floyd and Rosalie then formed a small business involving commercial refrigeration and appliance repair and sales in Ohio City.
On weekends during this period as a civilian, he continued reserve military training and maintained flying proficiency with the USAF Active Reserve pilot program in Fort Wayne, Indiana, until being recalled to active military duty in support of the Korean conflict. After the Korean War, Floyd elected to remain in the Air Force as an officer. Floyd then served in the Viet Nam War as a staff management officer in the establishment and operation of a combat airlift operations unit. His last overseas assignment was as a commander of a joint US Army, Airborne and Air Force training and advisory unit in Saudi Arabia. He retired from the Air Force in 1972 with an accredited 30 years of service. Floyd then immediately accepted employment with Lockheed Aircraft Corp. as a C-130 instructor pilot in support of Lockheed’s contract with the Saudi Arabian government (Royal Saudi Air Force). From that time to his retirement from Lockheed in 1984, Floyd held Lockheed management positions in flight operations, air and ground training and aircraft maintenance. His last position in Saudi Arabia was as a Lockheed program director.
Upon returning to the United States, he was again employed by Lockheed for two years at the Kennedy Space Center in special projects supporting the Lockheed contract with NASA. In final retirement in Florida, Floyd and Rosalie performed church and community volunteer work and worked part time as Florida licensed real estate associates and in property management. They returned to near their origins when in 2007 they relocated to Berne, Indiana.
Floyd always attributed what success he may have attained in life to God’s blessings, his parents’ guidance and in a great part to the German neighborhood in which he spent his childhood and teen farm life, and then to his wife of 71 years. He viewed Rosalie as his best friend and as a most intelligent and loving wife and an unusual person who could quickly adjust to hardships of frequent relocations around the world, difficult and challenging living conditions, long and frequent family separations all the while raising three sons and tending to family management and finances.
Floyd was the recipient of several military awards and decorations, and was a resident graduate of The Air University Command & Staff College. He was a member of The Air Force Association, American Legion, Veterans of Foreign Wars, Dedaeleons (Military Pilots Association) and Ohio City/Rockford Masonic Lodge.
Floyd attended the First Missionary Church in Berne, Indiana, and was a member of the Volusia County Baptist Church, Orange City, Florida. In earlier periods, Floyd and Rosalie were actively involved in military chapel youth activities and in later years in Florida they were active in care for the elderly and the Meals on Wheels operations.
Funeral services will be 11 a.m. Saturday, March 18, 2017, at Alspach-Gearhart Funeral Home & Crematory, Van Wert, Ohio, with the Rev. Jeff Horsman officiating. Military graveside committal services will take place at Woodlawn Cemetery, Ohio City, Ohio, by combined units of the Van Wert American Legion and V.F.W. Posts.
Visitation will be 6 - 8 p.m. Friday, March 17, 2017, and one hour prior to services Saturday at the funeral home.
Preferred memorials may be directed to the Wounded Warrior Project.
Condolences may be expressed at: www.alspachgearhart.com.