They came in great
numbers, from his own city and from many far away places, to attend the funeral of Robert E. Kirkland.
Such evidence of respect, love and admiration is seldom seen or deserved.
It is a tribute to any man to leave behind memories of service and friendship, of devotion and successes,
when the "summons comes to join the innumerable caravan."
He was a young man when he came to Wilson in 1923. A young man with a vision, with ambition and a goal.
He went about the every day task of living with the insight of one who build his house upon a rock.
His home and his family were very dear to him. As one of his friends remarked, "He was a family man and
a man's man," a combination that embodies all the qualities of Christian living, sportsmanship and success.
His church, the First Methodist, meant much to him. He served on the important committees where his knowledge
and experience were needed. As his pastor, the Rev. Charles Hubbard said, "This was a working religion" which he
took with him on his everyday dealings with his fellow men for those who needed a helping hand and assistance.
His work in his church was well known, but only he and his God knew what he did for many others who needed his
help and encouragement.
He recognized and fulfilled his civic responsibilities, in all areas of endeavour,
as serving on committees, in organizations and accepting leadership positions. He was called on to give
his time and talents in many areas including the presidency of the Chamber of Commerce.
His fair business practices and executive ability built the Barnes Motor & Parts Company into a leader
in this field with branches in nine other cities, and his vision in the automotive parts industry reached its
fruition in the NC Automotive Parts Industry Wholesale Association which he founded and served as president.
These are some of Mr. Kirkland's contributions to his community and the world in which he was a vital part.
He gave more in friendship and service to his fellow man than he expected from them. And as you learn from the
Bible, those who serve are rewarded many fold.
The Rev. Robert Bradshaw his former pastor, spoke of his great capacity for friendship. He was never without
his friendly approach to everything he did. He could not separate it from his nature, for it was part and
parcel of him, a talent from God that be used to bring forth the fruit of good living.
The honors he received in life, the love he inspired and the respect he commanded, can be summed up
in this one quality, friendship. For as Mr. Bradshaw concluded, "He was your friend and mine."