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Robert M. Van Kirk
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Thank you for your support during this difficult time. Please enhance this tribute to Robert by adding your memories and photos.

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Gately Funeral Home

79 West Foster Street
Melrose, MA 02176
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Memories & Candles

“Dear Rita,Sorry I couldn't be there today but and the family are in my prayers.I remember the Nat'l Conventions when we all used to hit the casinos. ...Read More »
1 of 12 | Posted by: DIANE LAFOND - Acushnet, MA

“Dearest Rita, Our hearts are saddened by your loss and our thoughts and prayers are with you. He will be missed. ”
2 of 12 | Posted by: Ron and Jean Smith - Ormond Beach, FL

“Rita,was very sorry to hear of Vans passing. I will keep you in my prayers as you go threw these hard times. ”
3 of 12 | Posted by: Judie Fairneny - Melrose, MA

“Chief,I did not know you personally, however I would very much like to "Thank You" for your dedicated and honorable Military Service to OUR country...Read More »
4 of 12 | Posted by: Sergeant Major (E-9) Larry E. & Mrs. Sheila M. (LaBar) Williams, US Army/ Retired - TN

“Godspeed Uncle Bob. You were my favorite uncle and one of the truly great storytellers. Our condolences to Aunt Rita.Steve and Holly ”
5 of 12 | Posted by: Steve Whitney - Miamisburg, OH

“To the Van Kirk Family:On behalf of a grateful nation, and the State of New Hampshire VFW Auxiliary, District #7, we wish to express sincere...Read More »
6 of 12 | Posted by: Cathy Burns - Friend

“Rita - I remember spending time @ the Harold O Young with both you and Van.Jackie ”
7 of 12 | Posted by: Jack Rahilly - North Conway, NH

“Rita and Family- Dawn and I send our deepest condolences on your loss. Van was a friend, Comrade and mentor who I looked to for advice and counsel to...Read More »
8 of 12 | Posted by: Michael Figlioli - DC - Friend

“"Van" will always be remembered as a true American patriot. He gave to his country, friends and, of course, Rita, unconditionally. We all will miss...Read More »
9 of 12 | Posted by: Richard & Myra Lyons - Melrose, MA

“Patty, Katie & Family,We're so sorry to learn of Van's passing. Our thoughts and prayers are with all of you. ”
10 of 12 | Posted by: Gina & Charlie Manoli - Stoneham, MA

“Our deepest sympathy to Rita and the family on your loss. Van was a great friend and comrade. He will be missed by all.Norm & Judy Cook ”
11 of 12 | Posted by: Norman Cook - Saugus, MA - Friend

“The Gately Family and Staff wish to express our sincere sympathy to you. It is our hope that we may be able to make a difficult time more bearable....Read More »
12 of 12 | Posted by: John W. Gately, John H. Gately & Fred Sprague


Robert M. Van Kirk died at Melrose-Wakefield Hospital on January 27, 2020 at the age of 91. He was born in Columbia, NJ on October 22, 1928 to the late Marvin & Grace (Kinney) Van Kirk. Robert was raised in Belvidere, NJ, graduated from Belvidere High School in 1947 and entered the US Navy in 1948. Mr. Van Kirk served in the Navy for 30 years, served in the Korean & Vietnam Wars and retired as a Chief Petty Officer. After his retirement from the service he worked as a project manager at Spaulding & Sly in Boston for a few years and then as a self employed carpenter for many years. He has been a resident of Melrose for 52 years. Robert was very involved in the veteran's organizations over the years. He was the State Commander from 2004-2005, a lifetime member of the Harold O. Young VFW Post 2394 in Melrose, and member of the DAV, the American Legion, Korean Veterans Organization and the Navy Vessels Membership. He was considered a "Brown Shoe Navy Veteran" because he was on the aviation side of the US Navy. He was also a member of the Masonic Order Lodge 13 in Belvidere, NJ and a member of the National Rifle Association. Mr. Van Kirk enjoyed camping and fishing, spending time in the summer in Sanford, Maine and winters in Key West, Florida. He and his wife Rita would travel to a different convention every year, he also enjoyed reading non- fiction and watching football and baseball.

Robert was the beloved husband of 52 years to Rita M. (Boyle) Van Kirk. Loving brother of Barbara Whitney and her late husband Henry of NJ. Cherished uncle of Sharon Rahman, Steve Whitney, Patricia Boyle, Paula Boyle, Michael Boyle & Lawrence Boyle and their families.

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