Kathryn Ann Kirkwood (née Kearns) passed away April 29, 2018, three weeks before her 95th birthday, at Spring Arbor of Severna Park, Severna Park, Maryland. Born in Gary, West Virginia, May 20, 1923, the first child of Walter J. Kearns, Sr. and Thelma Pauline Francisco, she was preceded in death by her parents and five siblings: Margaret Harmon (Peggy); Walter J. Kearns; Thelma Bentz (Telmie); Paul Lewis Kearns (who died as a toddler); and Barbara Fisher. After her father’s untimely death in 1933, the family moved to Bluefield, West Virginia. Nan (as she was called by all), a member of “The Greatest Generation,” weathered the depression as a child and young adult, graduated from Bluefield’s Beaver High School in 1941, and left Bluefield College to work at Western Union as part of the war effort. She met and married Robert J. Kirkwood, Sr., a naval veteran who served the war effort in the South Pacific Theater after having survived the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor. The growing “navy family,” lived in South Carolina, Seattle, San Diego, and on Guam, as her husband (who predeceased her in 1970) was transferred by the Navy. When he was assigned to the National Security Agency, Fort Meade, Maryland, in 1957, the family settled in nearby Odenton, where Nan continued to live for 50 years. That same year, Nan began, in addition to being a full-time wife and mother, a successful career in banking. Beginning as a teller at the State Bank of Laurel in Maryland, she rose through the industry’s mergers and acquisitions, retiring from Equitable Trust Bank in 1987 as one of the first woman bank officers on the East Coast. For the last decade of her career, she served as manager of the Equitable Trust Bank branch on the campus of the National Security Agency. After her retirement, she continued to lead an active life until recent years, traveling and cruising with her sisters and friends, playing cards, and crocheting. She especially enjoyed reading, and visiting her children, many grandchildren, and great-grandchildren. A life-long Catholic, Nan was a faithful parishioner at St. Joseph Catholic Church in Odenton. Her faith sustained her in difficult times and brought comfort, peace, and joy to her life. She leaves to mourn her loss her 3 children: Martha Kirkwood Mayo (Marti) of New York, New York; Robert J. Kirkwood, (Bob) and spouse Cathy, of St. Charles, Missouri; and Barbara Jane Miller and spouse Bob, of Pasadena, Maryland; 7 grandchildren, 11 great-grandchildren, a large extended family of cousins, nieces and nephews, and many friends.
On Thursday, May 10, 2018, the family will receive friends and relatives at St. Joseph Catholic Church, 1283 Odenton Road, Odenton, Maryland, 21113, from 10:00 to 11:00 am. A mass of Christian burial will follow directly at 11:00 am. McCully-Polyniak Funeral Home, 3204 Mountain Road, Pasadena, Maryland, 21122, is handling arrangements. Donations in lieu of flowers may be made to Seasons Hospice, 5457 Twin Knolls Road, Columbia, Maryland. She will be interred with her husband at Arlington National Cemetery at a later date.