via O’Neill Hayes Funeral Home
Helen Cliniff Kirby of Jupiter, Florida and Middletown, RI, wife of Jerome R. Kirby Jr. died at home in Middletown, RI on March 5, 2020. Born in Newport, RI on February 6, 1931, she was predeceased by her parents William Lawrence Cliniff and Elizabeth Amos Cliniff.
Besides her husband of sixty-six years Helen is survived by her seven children; Kathleen Kirby Greenman (Christopher), Jerome R. Kirby III (Kim), Kevin J. Kirby (Libby), Agatha Kirby Perkins (Tom), Matthew O. Kirby (Michelle), Myra E. Kirby, Nicolas P. Kirby (Claudia); thirteen grandchildren, Eliza Greenman Burlingame (Andrew), Emma Kirby Greenman Culver (Robert), Jerome R. Kirby IV, Seamus D. Kirby, Jessica A. Kirby (Craig), James W. Kirby II, Tucker Mulligan Kirby, Emily B. Perkins, Owen T. Perkins (Margaret), Matthew O. Kirby Jr., M. Oliver Kirby, Liam J. Kirby, Lucas C. Kirby; three step grandchildren, Olivia Krys, Julia Krys, Ruben Krys; two great grandchildren Jerome R. Kirby V and Marin Rose Kirby Mackay.
Helen attended Newport public schools, graduating from Rogers High School in 1949 and from Newport Hospital School of Nursing in 1952. After a brief career in nursing Helen married and moved with her husband to his posting at the Second Marine Division, Marine Corps Base, Camp Lejeune, North Carolina. She returned to Aquidneck Island in 1955. Helen was a member of the Newport Country Club, the Viking Bridge Club, the Preservation Society of Newport County, and a former member of Ida Lewis Yacht Club. She was a volunteer for the Newport Hospital Meals on Wheels and the Preservation Society of Newport County. For the past twenty-five years Helen was a member of the Jonathan’s Landing Golf Club, in Jupiter Florida, the Jonathan’s Landing Bridge Club and the Jonathan’s Landing Traveling Bridge Team. A genteel, competitive golfer she was a member of the Hole in One Club at Jonathan’s Landing. Helen won the Rhode Island Championship of the National Breast Cancer Benefit Tournament with her Newport Country Club foursome and several other golf tournaments over the years with her husband and friends.
Visiting hours will be held Sunday, March 8 from 3-6 pm in the O’Neill-Hayes Funeral Home, 465 Spring St, Newport. A Mass of Christian burial will be celebrated Monday, March 9 in St. Mary’s Church, Newport at 10:00 am. Burial will follow at St. Columba Cemetery, 465 Brown’s Ln, Middletown.
Donations can be made in Helen’s honor to St. Mary’s Church Building Improvement Fund, PO Box 547, Newport, RI 02840 or by visiting www.stmarynewport.weshareonline.org/ChurchImprovement