Lillian May Henderson Kirby

Published in The Examiner on Apr. 1, 2017
1929 - 2017

Lillian May (Henderson) Kirby, 87, of Blue Springs, Missouri, passed away
peacefully on Saturday, March 25, 2017, at The Groves, in Independence, Missouri,
with her loving family by her side.

Lillian was born on October 22, 1929, in Washington, D.C., the daughter of the late
Melvin and Lillian (Wilkinson) Henderson. She was predeceased by her infant
sister, Diane Henderson, and her former husbands, Robert Carr of Maryland and
Bill Bayless of Springfield, Missouri.

She was a graduate of
Anacostia High School, Class of 1946, attended
Graceland University in Lamoni, Iowa, 1946-47, and Peabody Conservatory of
Music in Maryland, 1947-1948. Lillian graduated from Cecil College, while
managing her husband's dental practice, and raising her 5 children. She moved to
Springfield, Missouri in 1980, where she took great joy in caring for her oldest
grandsons. While in Springfield, she graduated from Missouri State University, with
a Bachelor of Arts-Cum Laude and was inducted into the Phi Kappa Phi honor

Lillian taught painting and writing classes for the Springfield Adult Education
program, as an adjunct faculty for Ozarks Technical Community College. She
enjoyed tutoring English as a second language and touched many lives through her
skills. Lillian was an avid painter and left a legacy of hundreds of paintings. A
common creative thread of art and music provided her many hours of enjoyment,
enriching her church by providing musical accompaniment. Lillian had a beautiful
soprano voice and enjoyed singing with the Auditorium Chorus for the annual
performance of Handel's Messiah in Independence, Missouri.

Lillian moved to Blue Springs, Missouri, in 1996, to help raise her younger
grandchildren and enjoyed the companionship that comes with daily visits from the
kids in an active family. She was always ready with a snack, craft, song or story.

Lillian was an ordained minister in the Community of Christ and served as an Elder.
She was a devout member for over 70 years and was honored to serve as Chaplain
at the Temple in Independence, where she enjoyed meeting people from all over the
world and all walks of life. Lillian was a prolific writer and published many daily
devotionals and worship materials, which were used by the international church. Her
devotion to the church, and her calling, was unwavering and was a path of light that
she followed her whole life.

Lillian is survived by her husband, Technical Sergeant Don Kirby, U.S. Air Force
(Ret.); and her five children, Dennis (Meredith) Carr and Brian (Jenn) Carr of Elkton,
Maryland, Sharon Carr Jenkins (Roy) of Springfield, Missouri, Lauren Carr (Kevin
Gard) and Robin Carr Hulse (Eddie) of Blue Springs, Missouri.

She is also survived by her 17 grandchildren, 7 great-grandchildren, 2
stepdaughters, many nieces, nephews, cousins, and her sisters, Dorothy Gundling,
of Bluffton, South Carolina, Faith Beers, of Bradenton, Florida, and Janet Irby, of
Novato, California. The four sisters were the bedrock of the large, energetic
Henderson clan, and Lillian was blessed to have such loving family to accompany
her through all the chapters of her life.

A Celebration of Life service will be held on April 15, at 10:30 a.m., at the Colonial
Hills Community of Christ church, 3539 S.W. Missouri 7, Blue Springs, MO 64015.

In lieu of flowers, a memorial contribution can be made to the Temple Endowment
Fund, in memory of Lillian Kirby, Community of Christ, c/o Presiding Bishopric,
1001 W. Walnut St., Independence, MO 64050.

For condolences, please visit

Arrangements: Speaks Suburban Chapel, Independence, 816-373-3600.