In the early morning hours of September 20th, 2017 Barbara Holter Kirkland departed this world after 93 years and 9 months. Bar was born on December 22, 1923 in Helena, as was her father, to Aubrey Milton Holter and Florence (Hayton) Holter. She grew up roaming the hills and mountains around Helena, sometimes on horseback. She learned about all the flowers, birds, mushrooms, trees, rocks, and mines. After graduation from Helena High School, she attended Stephen’s College in Columbia, Missouri and the University of Montana. At a tea dance at Fort Harrison during WWII, she met a young Army Military Policeman. She and Robert Albert Kirkland married on the 8th of August, 1943 and soon started their large family. By 1962 she was the proud, and frequently tired, mother of 6: Maren, Paul, twins: Christopher and Stuart, Aubrey, and Robert, Jr. Her children kept her more than busy with their activities, projects, antics’ and endless questions which she always answered or helped them find the answers. “Well let’s find out.” or “Let’s look it up.” were heard often. Her house was always filled with children: her own, their cousins, and their many friends; as well as assorted dogs, cats, and other beasties. And not to be forgotten, the monkey, “Skeeter”. She began feeding birds on a window sill as a child and continued to feed, identify, and enjoy them to the end
In her later years, she was a Red Cross volunteer dealing with disasters and disaster assessment. She also spent years in the schools helping children improve their reading skills. She never lost her love of the mountains and spent much time picnicking up Rimini, and other places, with her family and friends. She took her grandchildren to the mountains to learn, explore, wade in creeks, and to teach them to love all that nature has to offer.
Bar was preceded in death by her parents; her sisters, Pauline Shumate, Helen (Tis) Clary, and Doris Birmingham; husband, Bob; Son Paul; and granddaughter Stephanie Kirkland Van Dyke. She is survived by her children: Maren Keener, Chris (Linda), Stuart (Linda), Mark Aubrey (Janet), and Rob/Bob (Cookie), all of Helena; grandchildren Cy (Breanna) Keener of Maryland, Bill (Toni) Kirkland of Colorado, Dawna Pace of Butte, Trevor (Angie) Kirkland, Travis Kirkland, Rebecca Kirkland, Maren (Ryan) Weber, Chanda Kirkland, and Conner Kirkland all of Helena; and great grandchildren Zyik Kirkland of Colorado and Derrick Kirkland of Helena; as well as many nieces, nephews, extended family, and friends.
In lieu of flowers, memorials can be made in her memory to Helena Food Share, as she never wanted a person to be hungry, the local humane society or Pads for Paws, as she never wanted an animal to be short on love. A memorial will be done at the 10:30 am service on October 4th 2017 at St. Peter’s Cathedral.