Dr. Ronald Franklyn Kirby, 69, deceased Monday, November 11, 2013, at his home in (Rosemont) Alexandria, VA.
Ronald was born Jan 7, 1944, in Adelaide Australia to the late Frank and Joyce Kirby.
Ron received a Bachelor's of Arts (B.A.) degree at the University of Adelaide in Australia in 1964. He also obtained his Doctor of Philosophy degree in Applied Mathematics from the University in 1970. He married Molly Diane Davis, in April 1976, in Washington, DC, and divorced in 2001. Together they adopted two children, Marilyn and Josef Kirby from the Philippines. In May of 2012, Ronald re-married to Anne Gray Haynes, who he spent the rest of his time before he passed away.
Ronald was the Director of the Department of Transportation Planning at Metropolitan Washington Council of Governments (COG) since 1987. Ronald was often known as Dr. Gridlock. During his 26 years of service of the region, Ronald's major projects included the Wilson Bridge, the I-495 express lanes, the HOV lanes, the ICC Corridor and studying the concept of telework and how it affected traffic patterns. Ronald spent a lot of time thinking about how to improve existing transit systems. When asked when he would be retiring, Ronald is quoted as saying "What am I going to do, stay home and read books". Ronald was so committed and passionate about his work, his daughter, Marilyn, remembers. Ronald was a key figure on all aspect on regional planning and collaboration. Previously, Ron was the Director of Urban Institute Program of Transportation. His colleagues will remember his brilliant ideas and intellectual engagements.
Ronald is survived by his wife Anne Haynes, his two children; Marilyn "artist, also known as TiyaDK" and Josef "Joe" Kirby, Jeremy Salt, mother of his children, Molly Kirby, his younger brother Neil (Liz Kummerow) Kirby and younger sister June (Michael) Sheridan, a host of nephews and niece, family, friends, neighbors, beloved co-workers, and community members.
Funeral Services will be Sunday, November 17th, 5:00 PM at Everly-Wheatley Funeral Home located at 1500 West Braddock Road Alexandria, VA 22302
In lieu of cards and flowers, the family asks that you send donations to Americans For Responsible Solutions (www.AmericansforResponsibleSolutions.org) and/or Inter-Country Adoption Board (www.icab.gov.ph) for victims of Typhoon Yolanda.
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November 17, 2013
Everly Wheatley Funeral Home
1500 W. Braddock Rd.
Alexandria, VA 22302
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I have fond memories of Ron, Molly, and his 2 children, while living in the Philippines. He sure did love chocolate cake! May your memories sustain you and warm your heart. xxooPosted by: Lisa Smith Nov 23, 2013
I remember Ronald from our trip to Ethiopia last year. I am so sorry.Posted by: Russell Misheloff Nov 20, 2013
Ron was always an articulate spokesman for rational transportation policies in the Washington metro area. Even more important, he was a genuine good person and friend. He will be sorely missed.Posted by: John T. Berg - Silver Spring, MD - colleague and friend Nov 18, 2013
When I entered grad school in 1974, Ron's early work on paratransit was a major influence on my career path, and a key reference to my master's thesis. Over the years, serving on a COG Citizen Advisory Board, consulting to COG, or simply sharing the adventures in planning for this complex region, I, like many others, relied upon Ron for the insight and knowledge of the right thing to do, and the counsel and diplomacy to make sure it happened.
When I entered grad school in 1974, Ron's early work on paratransit was a major influence on my career path, and a key reference to my master's thesis. Over the years, serving on a COG Citizen Advisory Board, consulting to COG, or simply sharing the adventures in planning for this complex region, I, like many others, relied upon Ron for the insight and knowledge of the right thing to do, and the counsel and diplomacy to make sure it happened. He was a friend to our greater community, and he inspired so many of us. Our hearts go out to his family.Posted by: Owen Curtis - Alexandria, VA - professional colleague Nov 17, 2013
I have the honor of serving on the Citizens Advisory Committee of the Transportation Planning Board this year. It was my extreme pleasure to get to know Ron and take advantage of his incredible expertise. He was truly one of the major "behind the scene" players in Metro Washington who greatly improved the lives of thousands and thousands of citizens. We must all never forget his remarkable record.Posted by: Mayor Jeffrey Slavin - Somerset, MD - Friend Nov 17, 2013
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Ron and I started working at COG within one year of each other, although I worked in the Health area. As I had a yen to visit Australia, he graciously told me about life in Adelaide and Australian customs. After my funding ran out and I left COG, I always took note of what Ron was doing through newspaper articles and radio. He was the consummate professional. Freda Kjolhede
In the 1980s and early 1990s when I was on the staff and then the board of the Washington Area Bicyclist Association, I attended many meetings at COG. Ron Kirby always impressed me with his professionalism, skill and good humor despite the intense pressure to solve transportation problems. The work that he and his staff did inspired me to go to graduate school to study urban and regional planning. I am so sorry about Dr. Kirby's terrible death and the loss to his family and many friends and colleagues.
Ron and Anne clearly took great pride in their property as they were always improving it. Stonework out front, a new driveway, flowerbeds. If the weather was nice, there was always something happening there. I used to watch it all take place from my porch two houses away. He was a great neighbor and just a really nice man who clearly cared about others and his neighborhood. His loss to the Johnston Place/Elm Street neighborhood is incalculable. People like Ron and Anne are one of the reasons it was a special place to live.
As many have already said, Ron Kirby was a treasured resource in the transportation field and an important and eloquent advocate for regional transportation initiatives.
He also was the model public servant--what all of us in the public sector, past and present, should aspire to be. In my occasional professional dealings with Ron over the years, he was always generous with his vast knowledge and his time...and so very kind and patient to those of us far less well-versed in his area of expertise. You could always feel his passion and commitment to transportation issues.
His passing is a tragedy, but he will be remembered with great respect and affection by everyone who was lucky enough to know him. My deepest condolences are with his family over this heartbreaking loss.
He helped me understand the value of WMCOG's "Citizens Advisory Committee" in the late 1990's, on which I served, to see the need for participation of average citizens on the Committee and in the process. That gave me hope for continued future impact.
He will be truly missed by all.
Ron has been a long time, always relevant, hugely significant influence on transportation policy and planning for this entire region - and beyond. His steady hand, wistful smile and balanced counsel (with Aussie accent) cannot be replaced. We were lucky to have his thoughtful guidance.
I really enjoyed working with Ron over the last 5 years in the creation and implementation of the MATOC Program in the National Capital Region. I can honestly say that, without Ron's leadership and ability to collaborate, the program would never have gotten off the ground. He is someone that this Region will truly miss!