S. Kirby Hight ’38 died on March 11, 2018, in Skowhegan, Maine.
(The following was published in Maine Today, March 13, 2018):
Samuel Kirby Hight died peacefully at home, surrounded by his loving family, on March 11, 2018. Born in Skowhegan, on Jan. 27, 1916, Kirby graduated from Skowhegan High School in 1934 and Bowdoin College in 1938.
Upon graduation, Kirby returned to Skowhegan and joined his father Walter Sr. in the automobile business. Today that car business is 107 years old and is one of the oldest franchised dealerships in the United States. It includes four dealerships in the fourth generation of operation. In 1983 in recognition of his many accomplishments, Time Magazine awarded Kirby the Maine Quality Dealer of the Year for “business achievement and community service.” In Kirby’s later years, he developed real estate.
In 1940 when World War II beckoned, Kirby joined the Navy, graduating from Annapolis. He was commissioned as an ensign and rose through the ranks to Lt. Commander where he captained the destroyer the USS Babbitt stationed in the North Atlantic. Kirby personified “the Greatest Generation.”
Building his businesses was important but that never overshadowed Kirby’s dedication to the town of Skowhegan. He was the past president and long-time director of the Skowhegan State Fair, past president and former trustee of the Redington Fairview Hospital, a member of the Skowhegan Rotary, Masons, Elks, and an Honorary Trustee of Somerset Woods.
More importantly, however, was his commitment to the town’s children. Over the decades, he supported Little League teams, one act play contests, high school sports teams, yearbooks, etc. With his wife Grace, he started a scholarship at Skowhegan Area High School for graduating seniors pursuing post-secondary education.
Kirby and his wife Grace (Jack) were married for sixty-eight years. Kirb was the beloved Hight family patriarch. “Gramps,” sometimes known as “Grampy Chocolate” was the apple of his granchildren’s and great-grandchildren’s eye. He had a personality larger than life with a heart just as big. His sense of humor, great business sense, kindness, and concern, coupled with his love of family and Skowhegan and it’s people will be missed by all who knew him.
Kirby was predeceased by his wife Grace (Jack) Hight; his infant son, Samuel; and his daughter-in-law Sandi Hight. He will be missed by his family: sons Walter H. Hight of Skowhegan, Louis J. Hight ’74 and his wife Deborah ’75 of Norridgewock, daughter, Jane (Hight) Edmunds and her husband Paul of Hollis, N.H.; grandchildren Toby Hight and wife Liza of Skowhegan, Corey Hight and wife Jennifer of Skowhegan, Samuel Hight ’07 and wife Amanda of Norridgewock, Wylie (Hight) Van Ness and husband William of Ridgewood, N.J., Scott Edmunds and wife Sara of Scarborough, and Meredith (Edmunds) Hood and husband Cody of Bozeman, Mont.; great-grandchildren Kaeson Hight, Jackson Hight, William, Emsley, and Susannah Van Ness, and Samuel, Sage, and Mabel Hood.
The family would like to thank Kirby’s caregivers, his “birds,” for their devotion and loving care and Maine General Hospice for their kindness and assistance to Kirby and his family.