Victor Derl “Coach” Kirk, of Lake Wales, passed away on Tuesday, Jan. 1, 2013, in Winter Haven. He was 82.
Born in Logan County, W.Va., on
Dec. 20, 1930, to Lindsey A. and Connie (Frazier) Kirk, he was a Florida resident since 1958. Mr. Kirk was an educator and a coach. In 2011 he was included in the initial class of the Immokalee High School Athletic Hall of Fame and inducted into the Lake Placid High School Athletic Hall of Fame. He served in the U.S. Army’s combat engineers division in Korea; was a member of American Legion Post 25, Elks, VFW Post 4300, Eagles (where he twice received the “Man of the Year Award”), and was a Tennessee Squire. He was a former member of the Moose.
Referred to by one of his students as “Possibly the best basketball coach to work at Lake Placid High School,” Coach Kirk’s tenure was flanked by two other basketball mentors to whom that accolade might also be given. He succeeded Dr. Joe Barton whose service began in the late 1940s and was replaced by Steve Bullard in the 1970s.
A very important and prominent part of the storied history of Lake Placid High School athletics, Mr. Kirk was also a beloved teacher to many LPHS students especially in his Physical Education classes.
Kirk took two basketball teams from Lake Placid High School to the state tournament and followed that up with a pair of state tournament teams from Immokalee High School. A Lake Placid track and field team coached by Vic Kirk also went to the state meet and very nearly won the event.
In addition to basketball, Mr. Kirk coached some football and baseball at LPHS. Among the many student athletes he coached and taught at our school are Steve Bullard, Mike Rider, Ronnie Eckles, Jimmy Hendrix, the late Mayor of Lake Placid Dal Hall, Andy Sapp, Floyd Cobb, Kit Royer, Walt Miller, Lex Cauffield, Ray Dambrell and George Stivender.
Mr. Kirk is survived by his wife of 60 years, Betty Jo (Danish) Kirk of Lake Wales; daughters Darylena Keene (Charles) of Lake Wales and Glenna Roberts (Christopher) of Naples; grandchildren Dionne Spooner (Steve), Justin Strickland (Holly) and Christa Roberts; great-grandchildren Stepheney and Daryl Spooner; and brothers James (Dalia) of Odessa and Lindsey (Sue) of Hixon, Tenn. He was preceded in death by brothers, John and Dana; and sisters Anna Rose Hall and Dorene Leonard.
Funeral services with Military Honors were Friday, Jan. 4 at 3 p.m. at the Stephenson-Nelson Funeral Home chapel. Burial was to follow in Lakeview Memorial Gardens. Donations may be made in Mr. Kirk’s memory to the Lake Placid High School athletic department or to the Immokalee High School athletic department.
Arrangements were entrusted to Stephenson-Nelson Funeral Home, Sebring.