Tuesday, March 22, 2011

Memorial Service Saturday, March 26, 2011 For 'Ragtime Rascals' bandleader Wes Kirby

#JazzBluesFlorida #jazz #blues #Florida #Concerts #Festivals #Clubs

From our friends at the Space Coast Jazz Society:

A Memorial Service for bandleader Wes Kirby will be held at 11 AM next Saturday, March 26,  at the Florida Memorial Funeral Home in their chapel. Visiting hours are 10-11 AM and internment is from 12-12:30. The funeral home is at 5950 S.US Highway 1 in Rockledge. The phone there is (321) 636-8943.
Wes Kirby died March 14 of complications following heart surgery.  He was 84.
Wes lived in Cape Canaveral, where he managed some of his family's real estate. He was well known as a bandleader, clarinetist and pocket trumpet player for his own band, The Ragtime Rascals, and other Dixieland groups dating back to the 1970s. In those days  he was a member of "That Old Gang of Mine," which played at the old Island Casino and other popular music venues of the day.
He founded the Ragtime Rascals in the early '90s and had many followers when the band played every Thursday at the old Lloyds Restaurant at the Port.   The crowd came to hear Wes' band and to watch the big ships departing from the Port.
In March of 1995, when Lloyds closed, Wes secured a gig for the band at the Sunset Grill in Cocoa Beach, where the Rascals performed from 1 to 4 PM on Thursdays. It is expected that the band will continue to play at the Sunset Grill.
Wes is also remembered for his "day jobs." He taught music at Titusville High School. He also worked at the Kennedy Space Center, where he was a tour bus operator remembered for his way with words.
Wes  was born  as Thurston Wesley Kirby and raised in Kentucky, where he held a music degree from Eastern Kentucky University. As a young man in Kentucky, he taught music and was an accomplished band and choir director. He moved to Florida 40 years ago and held the tour bus  job for more than 20 years before retiring from the Kennedy Space Center. He maintained his trademark sense of humor all the way to the end.
 He was a member of The Nobles of the Mystic Shrine, Azan Temple of Melbourne, FL, a Mason of Franklin Lodge #28, Danville, KY, a Kentucky Colonel, and a member of First Baptist Church, Merritt Island, FL. He enjoyed traveling to Costa Rico where he also owned property.
Wes is survived by his daughters,  Cynthia Nan (Kirby) Inglis of Cottonwood CA, Judith Amelia (Kirby) Jackson Hoogestraat of Hemet CA and Marcheta (Kirby) Kern of Maitland, FL and  a son, Christopher Robin Kirby of Austin, Texas. Also  14 grandchildren and 7 great-grandchildren.

In lieu of flowers, the family requests all contributions be donations to Department of MUSIC, Eastern Kentucky University to honor Wes Kirby's love of music. You may go http://development.eku.edu/types-gifts, contact Elise Russell in the EKU Development of Music Office at 859-622-8668, or write Department of Music, 521 Lancaster Avenue, Eastern Kentucky University,101 Foster Music Building, Richmond, KY 40475.

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