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In Memory

Richard Kirwan (Vice Principal)

Richard Kirwan (Vice Principal)

Kirwan, Richard Richard Kirwan, cherished husband, father, grandfather and great grandfather, passed away on April 1, 2016 at the age of 90. Born in 1925, he and his family suffered greatly through the Depression. His parents instilled the importance of education, and Richard, as well as his siblings, worked hard and rose to the top of their field in their various career choices.

Richard served in the Navy during World War II as a radioman, and completed his service in the Navy in 1950. He used his GI bill to get a teaching credential with an emphasis in history and geography. From there, he completed his Masters degree in education from the University of Nebraska in Lincoln. 

A longtime educator, Richard started as a teacher and coach at Wayne State College in Nebraska. In 1960 he and his family moved to Santa Ana, where he began his career as a high school administrator. Eventually Richard became principal at Orange High School, Canyon High School, and retired from Villa Park High School in 1989. 

Because of his Midwestern work ethic, Richard's retirement was short lived, and he continued working in a variety of part-time endeavors, including security at Disneyland, driving a school bus for special needs children, and in 2006 he fully retired as a Grand Juror for the Orange County Superior Court.

Richard loved travel, gardening, the beach, and most of all his family. He is survived by his wife of 62 years, Joanne, as well as his children Jacki, Danny and Sioux. 

Services for Richard will be at Shannon-Bryan Mortuary on Friday, April 8, at 11:00 AM. In lieu of flowers, please donate in remembrance of Richard to your local Meals on Wheels.

Published in Orange County Register on April 8, 2016

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04/09/16 07:36 AM #1    

Steven J Truslow

Mr Kirwin was a real positive influence to me. He showed respect in his conversation with me and treated me as an adult. A class act!

With Respect,


Steve Truslow

04/09/16 12:00 PM #2    

Ken Cachat

As a result of a random occurrence and a very small world, we actually met Mr. Kirwan at a family birthday party about five years ago. It was great to see him and get reacquainted.   I still remember taking a road trip with Mr. Kirwan and some other students driving up to the Monterey Peninsula to attend a Key Club conference.

The widow of Mr. Staudenbauer was also, coincidentally, at that same party and I had the opportunity to tell her all the good things I felt about her husband.  Mr. Staudenbauer was probably my most influential teacher while I was at Valley High. 

04/09/16 05:17 PM #3    

Jack Wilkerson

I spent two weeks in the summer of 1965 driving around Santa Ana with Mr. Kirwan.  He was my drivers' education instructor for several hours a day; Rambler sedan with manual transmission.  We talked about everything but agreed we wouldn't talk about school, unless we had too.

One thing I vividly remember and have repeated many times was the 'parallel parking challenge'.  I was the last one of the group of three students to attempt this dreaded, driving, have-to-pass feat.  The first two students, won't mention names, failed at their attempt.  I boldly stated I could do it on the first try and be 12" or less from the curb.  Mr. Kirwan presented me with a challenge; a chocolate shake from Dairy Queen, his treat, if my driving skills could match by boast!  Well we discussed the final outcome with me downing a chocolate shake and Mr. Kirwan eating a cone.....  A great man, Vice Principal, and a person who always pays his debt.

 P.S.   As I lived across the street from Valley my brother would set up my dads' sawhorses in Valleys' parking lot and I practiced for 5 evenings straight for several hours before my big day. I admitted this to Mr. Kirwan the start of the senior school year.  He took it in stride, saying practice makes perfect.  I also had the opportunity to mention this several more times throughout my senior year when I was asked to visit his office but decided against it.

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