What’s John’s key to a long, healthy, and happy life?
John A Kirker Award

Peg’s Perspective: What’s John’s key to a long, healthy, and happy life?

Our Wesley Ridge resident, Dr. John Kirker has some definite ideas on the key to a long and happy life. And at 97, he’s an expert on the topic.
John Kirker was born in 1921 in Watertown, Massachusetts.    He served in the Coast Guard from 1942-1945 and went to Capital University on the GI Bill. John was happily married to his wife, Shirley, for 54 years before she passed away in 2017. They had three children, two girls, and a boy.
In all his life experiences, John has endless advice! But, regarding living a long and happy life here are his top recommendations:
Good attitude. 
As anyone who meets him already knows, John always enjoys people and has a very positive outlook on life. He is known for stopping by to brighten days with his big smile and pocket full of candy! The resident and staff alike are joyed by his presence.
He and Shirley would walk every day for about 15 minutes, right after breakfast. Not only was it great quality time together, but it also kept the two of them active. Also, John has been playing golf for a long time! He began playing in Caddie Camp, a league for beginner golfers, in 1934.
Staying busy/hard work.   
John had a very successful career as Dean of Men, then as Chairman of the Department of Education. He enjoyed his years of work so much that he began an entirely new career after retirement. His post-retirement position consisted of evaluating projects for a not for profit foundation.
John also loved working around the house to keep himself busy. He painted the outside of the house several times and worked on other miscellaneous projects around their homes. The work “never bothered me,” John explained. He truly enjoyed the work he did at their home.
John describes himself as a verbal individual. He enjoys talking with others and learning about their stories. But, he believes that the ability to really listen to people is very important.
Church and Family.   
His motto is “I am Third”, meaning God is first, the family is second, and he is third.
His wife brought him so much joy during their time together. And, John is extremely proud and thankful for his three children.
John enjoys listening to music, playing music, and even writing musical lyrics (which read like poetry). John is a gifted musical writer. He showed me lyrics that were a testament to a broken heart, but he added: “This could be an ode to losing someone to dementia.”
Dr. John Kirker,   “Once an advisor, always a friend,”   we thank you for your insight.