2009 Kirby Family Newsletter

Except for the rapid passing of yet another year, most everything we experienced in 2009 required more time to complete and now to recall them than previously. And that’s just the way it has become! However, without a doubt 2009 gave us much to appreciate and add to our memory bank… apparently the only place to go to these days for dividends! Our highlights included quite a bit of the yearly “usuals” plus some new adventures.

Family gatherings and reunions were scattered throughout the year– it seems that the older we get the more delightful it is to once more meet kith-n- kin on these annual celebrations! In February, we attended the extended Kirby family reunion as we gathered for the 83rd birthday of Esther Kirby Denning , the oldest surviving member of J.Ray’s paternal grandparent’s family. Following lunch at a nearby restaurant, we all gathered at the home of daughter Renae and husband Craig’s for cake, ice-cream and time to visit.

Much of the first quarter of the year was dominated by enjoying Duke basketball as they once again won the ACC championship held in Atlanta, Ga. We enjoyed the group of various ACC team-followers at this tournament and had a great time together! Later in March, Mark and his family joined us in Boston, Mass. for the NCAA regionals...great fun but without a victory celebration.

July was a busy month…. the five grandsons came a week prior to our regular family vacation. J.Ray had enrolled the three older boys in a daytime golf camp at Hillandale Golf course while the two younger boys were participating in a basketball camp . The younger ones came over to a golf class late in the afternoon so all of them could be together for a period of time. WHEW .. But it really was a fun time for both the boys as well as the grandparents!

Continuing in July, Martha and J. Ray attended her 50th college reunion at ASU in Boone, NC where we were treated to a tour of the campus plus delicious meals, a “Kenny Loggins” concert, a dance and various opportunities to meet with classmates to share info since we were students there so long ago. Oddly enough, we all were able to put faces and names together which was encouraging that we had not changed so very much!

The summer schedule included our “as-per-usual” Kirby family get-together week’s vacation. The location of choice was Blowing Rock and Boone, NC and surrounding vicinity …a special treat for Martha as this area represents both her undergraduate college site (ASU in Boone, NC) and her college day’s summer work at Mayview Manor Hotel. Aside from the beautiful mountain scenery, this location was also near many of Martha’s relatives.

The house where we stayed was atop a small mountain with an unbelievable vista; thanks to the graciousness of Cam Finley for allowing us to use his beautiful vacation home! What a treat! It was indeed an action packed week that included Tweetsie Railroad, gem mining, Mast General Store, hiking Grandfather Mountain, horseback riding, golf for the guys, “Horn in the West “outdoor drama, etc. Later in the week, we descended the mountain to Ferguson, NC to enjoy inner-tube rafting down the Yadkin River (led and organized by Margaret and Dick Martine) ending with exploring the Whippoorwill Academy Village. All this fun activity led to ferocious appetites so following a pre-packed lunch, Edith F. Carter led the group on a tour complete with explanations of some of the buildings as well as some of the history represented (Daniel Boone, Tom Dooley, Calvin Cowles, etc).

Later, a dinner was hosted by Jane Broyhill back at the Martine house where other relatives arrived to enjoy a swim prior to the delicious and bountiful meal. Time was short as we hurriedly raced on to the outdoor drama of “Tom Dooley” with mere minutes to spare before the play began. Much planning goes into our annual gathering and it seems to end all too quickly…always leaving us wanting more!

Our fall season was highlighted by attending the 70th year of the Forehand Reunion (J. Ray’s family) in Goldsboro, NC and the second year reunion of the former employees of Mayview Manor Hotel in Blowing Rock, NC where Martha worked for several summers.. While the group was relatively small, it was fun to have lunch together at Bistro Roca and recall those carefree days of our youth. We had contacted a number of people who although unable to attend, provided us with stories and photos of guests as well as some artifacts of the old hotel which we will eventually donate to the local Historical Museum.

Later 2009 activities involved devoting some time to our somewhat separate avocations or special interests. Namely, Martha continued her duties as secretary of The Carter Society (devoted to social and genealogical subject content relative to the Carter lineage). This group holds an annual three-day meeting at various Virginia historical sites. This year was Stafford/Fredericksburg, Va.. J.Ray continues to perform consulting activities for Star Plastics of W. Va. with emphasis on the recycling of plastics from electronic equipment. This “job assignment” involves work within and outside the U.S. and led to a late fall working-visit to Germany. We took this opportunity to plan a side-visit by train through Germany along the Rhine River and on into beautiful Switzerland and eventually to the historic Italian cities of Florence and Rome. This was a repeat of a very short visit years earlier as time spent there did not satisfy the need to explore the historic sites of these cities at a more leisurely pace.

Thanksgiving brought us back to the mountains of N.C. and once more to the Martine house where our Carter families gathered to feast. Luckily the weather was brisk and felt just as one might hope for the season. At the end of the day, our Kirby families drove up to Blowing Rock for the long weekend. Friday was spent shopping and ended with a nice Italian meal after which the children exchanged Christmas presents since each family spends this holiday at their individual homes. Saturday was the Christmas parade in Blowing Rock and Paul plus a friend had made a float honoring the 50th anniversary of “Peanuts”; the children were all to ride and sing..Great fun for all ages!

We spent Christmas eve with Alex, Mary and children in New Bern, N.C. where we were joined by their neighbors for a most delicious meal .Alex ordered King Crab legs from Alaska and we all stood around their kitchen bar smacking our lips for they were more delicious than you might even imagine,….AND they were the size of a small child’s arm so one/person was sufficient! Each family had brought a special dish making the meal both bountiful as well as delicious! Christmas morning was spent in our pajamas as we leisurely enjoyed seeing the children open their stockings. Following a beautiful breakfast feast, we then opened the gifts from each other from beneath the tree…a delightful day with blessings overflowing!

We feel quite blessed that our good health permits us to enjoy so many varied experiences and trust that it prevails in 2010 thus permitting other opportunities to visit friends and exciting places. Friends and family are welcome to visit us here in Durham whenever possible so let us hear and better yet, see you next year! Here is a lovely Irish blessing wish for you…

“May Joy and Peace surround you, contentment latch your door, and happiness be with you now, and bless you evermore.”

Sincerely with love,
J. Ray and Martha C. Kirby

The Entire Kirby Clan at our Summer 2009 Gathering in Blowing Rock, NC


From Left to Right:
J.Ray, Paul, Mason, Dina, Lauren, Mary, Claire, Anna Kate, Nicholas, Alex,
John, Mark, Charles, Michelle, Matthew, and Martha (Patty) Kirby

Family Tree Documentation

Click on the family tree you want to see:

Richard Carter family tree

George Kallam Carter family tree

Virginia Elizabeth Carter family tree

Randolph Jones Carter family tree

Henry Carter Councill family tree

Lucy Juliet Councill family tree

Edward Coffey family tree

James Kirby family tree

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