Obituary: Stuart 'Bud' Kirvan

With the publication of this obituary, the Legal News staff offers a heartfelt tribute of sympathy and condolences to editor-in-chief Tom Kirvan on the recent passing of his father, Stuart "Bud" Kirvan.

Stuart R. Kirvan


(Formerly of Ann Arbor)

Stuart "Bud" Kirvan -- a former weekly newspaper editor, popular columnist, and public relations executive -- died July 1, 2010 in Petoskey. He was 90 and had suffered from Alzheimer's disease for the past three years.

A veteran of the U.S. Navy during World War II, Mr. Kirvan grew up in the small town of Mecosta, Mich. and attended Central Michigan University before he was called to service in North Africa. Upon his return to the States in 1945, he began his career in journalism, working in a series of writing and editing roles with weekly newspapers in St. Johns, Lapeer, and Livonia. It was during his years as an editor at The Lapeer County Press, which at the time was considered one of the finest weekly newspapers in the nation, that he began writing his "Once Over Lightly" column. The column soon became a popular weekly feature that he continued to write for more than 50 years, eventually appearing in papers over a five-state region in the Midwest.

In the early 1960s, Mr. Kirvan was appointed head of public relations for WXYZ-TV in Detroit, a job that would launch his career in corporate communications for several major companies. He spent the bulk of his career as the director of communications and public relations for Dundee Cement Co., now known as Holcim and a subsidiary of a Swiss-owned company that is one of the largest cement manufacturers in the world. He later served as a public relations consultant to such clients as Owens-Corning, the Fiberglas manufacturer, and Mars Inc., maker of M & M's and Snickers. He also served as a political consultant to a host of state and federal candidates, and was one of the principal writers for the Michigan Constitutional Convention in 1961-62.

He was born November 21, 1919 in Mecosta, the son of Wilda and Oscar Kirvan. On July 11, 1942, he was married to Annalee Partridge in her hometown of Gladwin, Mich. The couple raised four children, and spent most of their married life in Ann Arbor before retiring to Harbor Springs and then Petoskey. His beloved wife, who served as a registered nurse in Ann Arbor for many years, died in June 2009 at age 89, a month short of what would have been the couple's 67th wedding anniversary.

Throughout his career and particularly during his retirement years, he was active in various community, church, and charitable causes, at one point spending six weeks in a famine-ravaged section of Africa as part of a mission for Project Mercy, an international relief organization dedicated to assisting refugees in strife-torn regions of the African continent.

An avid golfer, he served as president of Lakelands Golf and Country Club and Birchwood Farms Golf and Country Club, and also formerly was a board member at Barton Hills Country Club in Ann Arbor. He recorded a hole-in-one on the 15th hole at Birchwood Farms, becoming the third member of his family to score an ace. He also was a lifelong fan of the Detroit Tigers, attending games in the 1935, 1945, and 1968 World Series. He similarly was a devoted follower of University of Michigan basketball and football as a season ticket holder for more than four decades.

A gifted public speaker, he was well known for his special sense of humor, as well as his kindness and generosity. He was a loving and devoted family man who took special joy in an ever-growing circle of friends.

Survivors include: four children, Susan and her husband Tom Stanley of Whitewater, Wis., Anya and her husband David Jones of Boulder, Colo., Nancy Peters of Petoskey, and Tom Kirvan of Saline; five grandsons, Howard Stanley and his wife Karrie of Chicago, Andrew Harris of Durango, Colo., Jesse Kirvan of Durango, Aaron Peters and his wife Mary of Mount Pleasant, and Keith Connaghan-Jones and his wife Kelsey of Denver; and one great-grandson, Ryan Stanley of Chicago.

A memorial service is planned for Friday, July 9 at 2 p.m. in Stone Funeral Home, Petoskey. Cremation has taken place and his ashes will be spread at a memorial garden overlooking Little Traverse Bay in Petoskey.

Memorial contributions may be made to Hospice of Little Traverse Bay in Petoskey, Mott Children's Hospital in Ann Arbor, New Life Anglican Church in Petoskey, or St. Andrew Episcopal Church in Ann Arbor.

Arrangements are being handled by Stone Funeral Home in Petoskey.

Published: Wed, Jul 7, 2010