John Rounseville Kirwan
John Rounseville Kirwan
  • August 1, 1924 - November 22, 2017
  • Midland, Texas

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John Rounseville Kirwan went home to be with our Heavenly Father, his beloved wife Carolyn, and cherished son Daniel the day before Thanksgiving, November 22, 2017. John was born August 1, 1924 in Oak Park, Illinois to Mathew Joseph and Odanah Kirwan. John was the youngest of three siblings and grew up in Bartlesville, Oklahoma. John loved sharing colorful stories of growing up in this bustling town including overnight campouts in the wilderness with friends, trick or treating at Frank Philips house for silver dollars, and meeting Will Rogers. John was a natural athlete and played varsity basketball, tennis, and golf in school. He graduated from Bartlesville High School in 1942. John attended one year of Carleton College in Northfield, Minnesota before joining the United States Naval Reserve training program in Winona Minnesota at St. Mary's College for active duty. After one year, he was sent to Asbury Park, New Jersey for pre-midshipmen school. From there, John was sent to Northwestern University in Chicago where he received his commission as an Ensign. Next, He was sent to Miami, Florida to Navy Sub Chaser School where he completed his training. John reported to duty in the South Pacific where he served as Captain on the ocean going tug #A TA 175, which aided mighty war ships in distress all over the Pacific. One of such was a large floating dry dock as large as two football fields. It had been in a typhoon in which only 10 members survived. John and crew towed the vessel and remaining crew all the way back to Seattle Washington for repair. John received an honorable discharge the United Stated Navy in 1945 with the rank of Lieutenant j g. He lovingly joked that his sister Mary always outranked him. Everyone so enjoyed listening to John's World War II memories. John loved to recall how he tried for weeks to get the movie Yankee Doodle Dandy with James Cagney and finally was able to show it under the stars, at sea for the crew. He also shared on occasion, always with a twinkle in his eye, that a fighter plane had to radio in "whoever is flying a kite off the back of the ship needs to pull it in immediately." John returned to Carleton College to play basketball and complete his degree in history and English. He attended the University of Texas receiving his law degree in 1949. He was then employed by Cities Service Oil Company in Fort Worth, serving in the legal department. While working as a young lawyer in Fort Worth, John met Carolyn Ecker. The first time he met her he went home and told his roommate he met the gal he was going to marry. Carolyn become his forever Valentine on February 14, 1954. John was transferred to Midland in 1956 where together they raised their five children. John left Cities Service in 1968 and to join the law firm of Perkins & Kirwan with his brother Matt and Col. John Perkins. John was known in his profession for his sharp, analytical mind and understanding of complex matters. More than that, he was admired by all for his honesty and fairness. John was a lifelong conservative but listened to all sides and respected all points of view. John was a member and served as President (several times) of Children of the American Revolution (CAR) He was also a long time member of Midland County Bar Association and Midland for America. John practiced oil and gas law for over 60 years completing countless Title Opinions for longtime clients.
John was an avid athlete his entire life. He was a member of the YMCA for well over 50 years. Working out was as part of his daily routine as going to work. He played competitive basketball there and was a team member of George W. Bush. Though John was smaller and older, he was a force on the court. John served as President of the Midland Racquet Club. He also served on the Board of Directors of Schreiner College in 1974 and 1975. John was strong tennis player. He won the Midland Tennis Club Championship with his dear friend Miguel Bustilloz in 1978. John became passionate about running and ran his first marathon at age 55 and kept an eight-minute pace. He ran many marathons, his favorite being the New York Marathon so he could also visit his wife's family. He ran New York six times and recalled shouting to the crowd and high fiving "Brooklyn, Texas, and Heaven" He was also quite proud he made the qualifying time for the Boston Marathon. John credited his friend Doc Dodson for training him and keeping him fit. John into his eighties still rode his bike to Odessa and back, then ran six miles, swam two miles, and would remark to his family "I don't know why I'm so tired." John Kirwan had a lot of important accomplishments in 93 years but his greatest by far was Patriarch.
John was the most faithful husband, loving brother and son, and devoted father and grandfather. He was the strong foundation that held the Kirwan family together. John and Carolyn both oversaw the specialized care of John's brother Matt when he suffered a tragic accident and again when his sister Mary need assistance. John was active in raising his five children and especially dedicated himself to improving the physical condition of his special needs son Daniel. They became Midland celebrities as they attended every sporting event together in town over the years. John and Daniel also ran every local fun run together and competed in several triathlons. As a family, The Kirwans were members of Midland Community theater for decades, attended Globe Theater, and Permian Playhouse Production.
John was a friend to all and all age groups found him interesting and could relate to him. When asked how he was he always replied "nicely, nicely thank you." John was an eloquent speaker and perfected his presenting skills by