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John P. Kirby 1867-1942


Posted By: Merllene Andre Bendixen (email)
Date: 7/3/2011 at 03:31:21

J. P. Kirby Died Suddenly
Old Time Resident of Estherville Dies of Heart Attack at His Home Saturday, April 19
Death came suddenly Saturday morning to John P. Kirby, 75, pioneer banker of Estherville. Mr. Kirby who had been retired from active business for the past three years had been raking his lawn during the morning and after a rest had just resumed his work when stricken with a heart attack. He died at 10:45 A.M.

Mr. Kirby came to Estherville from Emmetsburg in 1887 and organized the First National Bank. He had been with the First National Bank at Emmetsburg for a short time. Under his guidance the local bank prospered and was the fountain head of a large group of banking institutions, at one time fifteen in number. The financial crash that followed World War I took the local institution and others with it. Mr. Kirby was unable to rally fully in spirit or financially from the blow although for a number of years he managed the Ford Auto and Firestone Tire agencies.

Since 1937 he had sold insurance.

Mr. Kirby was born on March 24, 1867 at Tipton, Iowa. He attended the schools of that place and the Cedar Rapids Business college also a school of banking at St. Paul, Minn. He was married to Miss Catherine Donovan of Emmetsburg in August, 1890, at St. Paul.

All of the couple’s married life was spent in Estherville. To them their two sons Mervin now of Council Bluffs and Donovan of Aberdeen, S.D., were born. The sons, his widow and one sister, Mrs. B. E. Kelly of Des Moines, survive.

Mr. Kirby was one of a fast departing group who were active in the business life and development of northwest Iowa in the youthful days of this part of the state. Younger in development than any other part of Iowa, it had just passed its infancy when he organized his banking houses. They prospered as the country developed. The depression changed the entire outlook of the nation and there will be no more return to conditions of the era in which Mr. Kirby and those other young men of the early ’90’s lived and prospered. Although of a quiet and retiring disposition, working long and tiring hours at his bank, Mr. Kirby had many warm friends among his associates. There are many of them who have been called to their own rewards but there are a few still living who mourn his sudden death.

Funeral Monday
Mass was read for the deceased man, Monday at St. Patrick’s Catholic church, with Rev. J. J. Keane officiating. Interment was made in the cemetery south of town. Pall bearers were Wilson Small, Dewey Gronstal, D. A. Bagan, Frank Campisano, Frank Weaver and Fred Dowden of Spirit Lake. Chas. Anderson of the Mahlum and Anderson funeral chapel was in charge. (Vindicator and Republican, Estherville, IA, April 21, 1942)


Emmet Obituaries maintained by LaVern Velau.
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