William J. Kirwin Jr. ’50 died on August 4, 2016, in St. John’s, Newfoundland, Canada.
(The following appeared online at carnells.com in August 2016:)
William J. Kirwin Jr. ’50 passed away peacefully at St. Patrick’s Mercy Home on August 4, 2016, age 91 years. Predeceased by his father and mother, William J. and Mary C.Kirwin of Newport, Rhode Island, U.S.A. He is survived by his sister Virginia K. Patch, of San Diego, California, niece Marianne G. Patch, also of San Diego, his nephew Keith D. Patch, of Lexington, Massachusetts, and Keith’s sons, Ryan J., Grant W., Taylor C., and Casey J. Patch. Born in Rhode Island, Bill excelled in anything academic, from his public school education in Rhode Island to his Ph. D. Studies in English Language studies at the University of Chicago in 1954. During World War ll, he spent 2 1/2 years in the U.S. Army Engineers, participating in the Battle of the Bulge, and fighting his way across Europe to Germany. In 1959, William received an appointment at Memorial University, St. John’s, Newfoundland in the Department of English Language and Literature, where he remained an active professor and then an emeritus professor until his illness in 2012. He will be remembered for his considerable contributions to the preservation of the language heritage of Newfoundland and Labrador. He developed the first Memorial programs in English Linguistics and research on the English dialects of the province, as well as the creation of the Memorial’s English Language Research Centre. Among many other achievements, he was a driving force behind and coeditor of the Dictionary of Newfoundland English and founding coeditor of the journal of Newfoundland and Labrador Studies. His love of music flourished from his days in school where he played the bass viol and trombone. He was one of the founding members of the Newfoundland Symphony Orchestra and an avid supporter of the MUN Film Society. A special thank you to his wonderful caregivers at St. Patrick’s Mercy Home, as well as Randy McCormack and Bob Hollett, loyal friends of 35 years. He will be greatly missed by many members of the University community, students, staff and faculty.