On Tuesday, Oct. 13, 2009, Col. Thomas Killgore Kirkpatrick passed away at home in Baton Rouge after a lengthy and fierce battle with cancer. Although he possessed a will of steel that brought him great military and professional success, he melted when surrounded by his family. Col. Kirkpatrick was a deacon and faithful Sunday school teacher at First Baptist Church in Baton Rouge. He taught classes even while undergoing chemotherapy, teaching his last class six months prior to his death. He began his military career July 14, 1969, as a private in the U.S. Army. He received a direct commission in the Judge Advocate General Corps and served four years on active duty, reaching the rank of captain. Tommy joined the National Guard in 1975 and served on various positions including military judge, state judge advocate, deputy STARC commander and retired commander of the 61st Troop Command. He served for more than 30 years in the military. This service included acting as general counsel of the National Guard Association of the United States. Col. Kirkpatrick was especially proud to have served as the director of Youth Challenge, a program for at-risk youth located in Carville. Under his direction, the program at Carville won the national program of the year. His military education includes the JAG Advanced Course, U.S. Army Command and General Staff College, pre-command courses and the U.S. Army War College. Col. Kirkpatrick graduated from Lee High in Baton Rouge and held a bachelor of science degree in business and a juris doctorate from LSU in Baton Rouge. After practicing law in Baton Rouge for many years, he left private practice to assume the director's position with the National Guard's Youth Challenge program. His final government service was as general counsel for the Governor's Office of Homeland Security and Emergency Preparedness. During his service, he was appointed as the state coordinating officer and alternate governor's authorized representative for hurricanes Katrina and Rita. He was affectionately called "Colonel K" by his co-workers who described him as "an outstanding leader, champion and humanitarian in his selfless drive to assist the local parishes and citizens of Louisiana in recovering from the worst disaster in our country's history." Col. Kirkpatrick was a life member of the National Guard Associations of the United States and state of Louisiana. He served on the boards of the Baton Rouge Area United Way, Salvation Army and Cancer Services of Greater Baton Rouge. His awards and decorations were numerous. He received the Legion of Merit, Meritorious Service Medal with two bronze oak leaf clusters, Army Commendation Medal, Army Achievement Medal, Army Reserve Components Achievement Medal with four bronze oak leaf clusters, National Defense Service Medal with one bronze service star, Vietnam Service Medal, Humanitarian Service Medal, Armed Forces Reserve Medal with silver hourglass, Army Service Ribbon, Army Reserve Components Overseas Training Ribbon, Louisiana Legion of Merit, Louisiana Emergency Service Medal with two bronze fleur-de-lises and the Louisiana Medal with three bronze fleur-de-lises. Tommy, as he was known to family and friends, was the son of Claude and Edith Killgore Kirkpatrick. On Aug. 14, 1965, he married Sandra Futrell of Pineville, and they made their home in Baton Rouge with their three children, Karen, Kirk and Katie. In his later life, Tommy reveled in the joy of being a grandfather to Trey, Brandt, Abby and Tyler. He is survived by his loving wife of 44 years, Sandra Futrell; two children, Thomas Killgore "Kirk" Kirkpatrick II and his wife, Amber, and Mildred Kathleen "Katie" Kirkpatrick; four grandchildren, Thomas Killgore Kirkpatrick III, Hudson Brandt Kirkpatrick, Abigail Kay Kirkpatrick and Tyler Lee Bordelon; mother, Edith Killgore Kirkpatrick; sister, Edith Kay Kirkpatrick; brother, Charles Kris Kirkpatrick and his wife, Jane; and numerous nephews. He was preceded in death by his daughter, Sandra Karen Kirkpatrick; father, Claude Kirkpatrick; and brother, Claude Kent Kirkpatrick. Arrangements are being handled by Rabenhorst Funeral Home. Services will be held at First Baptist Church on Thursday, Oct. 15, with visitation from 10 a.m. until the 11 a.m. service. Pallbearers will be Scott Kirkpatrick, Stephen Kirkpatrick, Bill Futrell, Timothy Futrell, Ronnie Welch, Richard Setliff, Dudley May and Joe Juban. Donations may be sent to Cancer Services of Greater Baton Rouge.
Published in The Advocate from Oct. 14 to Oct. 15, 2009.