Kirby, Vicky VanBuskirk

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Kirby, Vicky VanBuskirk 4On November 20, 2023, Victoria Amanda Bowling VanBuskirk Kirby passed away at the age of 97, in Martinsville, Va. Mom was born in Franklin County, Va., January 23, 1926, the tenth child out of her eleven siblings to Toka Jane Thomas and James Leonard Bowling.

To her family, she was Victoria, a spitfire of a youngster, who as the story goes, skipped two grades in elementary school, and whose main job on the farm was the chicken chaser. Mom loved reading, and attributed it to her mother, Toka, who took time to read to each and every one of the eleven children every day!

After graduating from Henry High School in 1941, and Ferrum Junior College in 1943, she moved to Arlington, Va. with her sister, Nora. Here she took on the nickname Vicky or Vic, and from 1943 to 1962 she was employed (when possible) primarily by the Military Intelligence Division – Armed Forces Security Agency. While working in Arlington, she met Earle Knight VanBuskirk, Jr., a career CPO in the Navy from Stowe, Mass., just outside of Boston.

Vicky and Van married May 15, 1950, with Van’s Naval career leading them to places far from Franklin County, like Recife, Brazil; Adak, Alaska; and Winter Harbor, Maine. It was in Maine that their daughter, Jane Lee, joined the family in 1957. All three of them lived in Cyprus and in Panama, and Maine, until Van’s retirement, when they moved to Riverdale, Maryland.

Shortly after they moved, Van was killed in an automobile accident, and Vicky and Jane Lee moved back to Ferrum, Va.

In 1963, with support from her siblings, Vicky went back to school, earning a Master’s in Counseling from Radford College in 1966, beginning her career in education.

In 1967, she married James Arnold Kirby, then in 1971 they moved to Springfield, Va., returning to Radford, Va. in 1974.

In 1982 she became a mother-in-law to Karl Miller, Jane Lee’s spouse. This led to her next role in 1983 and 1986 when her granddaughter, Amanda, and her grandson, Tyler were born. She was so tickled and proud to be called Grammy. Both grandkids spent summers in Radford, and eventually went to Virginia Tech and Radford University, enjoying many meals, concerts, movies, and adventures with their Grams. She was so proud of their accomplishments, and loved the people they chose to marry, Fernando Avila (Amanda), and Michelle Sibert (Tyler).

One of her biggest wishes was to meet her great grandchildren, and become Great-Grammy. Thankfully, she was able to meet all four great grandkids, Sebastian and Javier Avial, and Abigail and Haley Miller.

Vicky spent 40 years in Radford, enjoying many friends, clubs, activities, events, and family.

Leaving in 2014 was bittersweet, but the staff at King’s Grant made Mom’s last nine years full of fun, care, and love – she felt at home. Mom dearly loved all of her family, her friends, her adventures, her travels, and her never ending gain of knowledge, whether it be cultural, intellectual, or just fun. Her legacy will be carried on by all who knew her, especially her family.

In her own words, “I’ve lived a good life, just about as good as anyone can ask for.”.

A Celebration of Life will be held in Radford, and an Internment at Arlington National Cemetery.

The dates are undetermined at this time.

In honor of Mom’s belief in education, and love of reading, donations to the Radford City Public Library, in her name are greatly appreciated. They accept checks or cash and should go to the Radford Public Library Lamplighters, 30 W Main Street, Radford, VA 24141 to support the volunteers’ with special programs for children, etc.

The Kirby family is in the care of Mullins Funeral Home & Crematory in Radford. www.mullinsfuneralhome.com

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