Kirkby, John (1905-1971)

Transcription of obituary published in the Minutes of Conference

JOHN KIRKBY: born in Redcar on 30 July 1905. After a period of training in accounting in Hull he received a call to the ministry and a potentially successful business career was laid cheerfully on one side. In Hartley College he formed friendships which lasted throughout his life and his devotion to academics was seasoned with prowess on the playing field and an active interest in music. 

He served a wide variety of circuits: Bishop Auckland, Ely, Hornsea, London (Harringay), Keighley (West Lane), Barnoldswick, South Shields, Hull (North), Jersey (Aquila Road), Bromsgrove, Willenhall. 

In his last circuit he suffered a severe illness but characteristically returned to the full work after a convalescence shortened by his desire to continue service. This was typical of his whole ministry; time was important to him and he used it intelligently and profitably, but he was never hurried and in all his circuits there are those who will testify to his readiness to listen and his eagerness to help. He loved the work of a circuit minister and was especially efficient in administration where his neatness in attire mirrored the tidiness of his mind and life, but alongside his formal courtesy and gentlemanly bearing there was a quiet and kindly sense of humour, witty but never self-consciously clever. 

His preaching was his life; meticulous in preparation and forthright in delivery he expounded the truths of the Faith as he practised them in daily life. He retired to Scarborough in 1970 and continued to preach with great acceptance. On the last Sunday of his life he took the place of a local preacher who was ill, and though himself unwell he conducted a service which will long be remembered by those present. 

He died in the early hours of the following morning — 24 May 1971, in the sixty-sixth year of his age and the forty-fourth of his ministry.


John was born on 30 July 1905 at Redcar, Yorkshire, to parents William John, a buyer of ready made clothing (1911), and Mary Alice.

He married Annie Mary Anson (1904-1972) in the summer of 1933 at Hull, Yorkshire.

John died on 24 May 1971 at Scarborough, Yorkshire..


  • Hartley
  • 1929 Bishop Auckland
  • 1931 Ely
  • 1932 Hornsea
  • 1833 Harringhay
  • 1935 Keighley
  • 1938 Barnoldswick
  • 1942 S Shields
  • 1948 Hull N
  • 1952 Jersey
  • 1957 Bromsgrove
  • 1963 Willenhall
  • 1970 Scarborough (Sup)


Methodist Minutes 1971/189

W Leary, Directory of Primitive Methodist Ministers and their Circuits, 1990

Census Returns and Births, Marriages & Deaths Registers

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