Joseph William Kirkham, age 56, passed away on November 5, 2022. He was born to Robert Michael Kirkham and Sheila Barrett Kirkham on September 16,1966 in Cleveland, Ohio, the youngest of their six children. His father was frequently transferred for the next few years and Joe lived in Alabama, Pennsylvania, Maryland, and Michigan until the family finally settled in Medina, Ohio.
Joe attended Heritage Elementary School, Medina Middle School and graduated from Medina High School. He was an avid football fan and played for the Medina Bees. He wrestled and ran track. He also swam for the neighborhood swim team. Joe was also a member of the Key Club.
He graduated in 1975 and then attended Bowling Green State University. After a semester he decided to enlist in the US Navy where he became a submariner on the USS Gato, a fast attack nuclear submarine. In 1990, Joe was deployed for nine months in Desert Storm. By the time they were able to return the only thing to eat on the submarine was chicken. He said when they got off the boat, the sailors emptied every salad bar in Groton twice! Joe was honorably discharged in October of 1995 as a petty officer first class.
He returned to Columbus to be close to his mother and father who moved while Joe was in the Navy. In 2003 Joe moved in with his parents to help his mother take care of his father who was diagnosed with cancer. After his father died in 2004, Joe stayed to take care of his mother, who did not want to live alone. Joe faithfully and graciously took care of his mother until he had the heart attack on October 31, 2022.
Joe worked for 23 years at J. Gilberts restaurant as their bartender and then bar manager. He was famous for his Manhattan, but he never drank them. No one could tell a story like Joe and he made many friends all over Columbus. Joe was respected and loved for his great sense of humor, his skills as a bartender and his excellent service. When J Gilberts was sold, Joe was about to accept a position at another steakhouse in Columbus when Covid hit and the governor closed all the restaurants in the state. After the state opened up again, Joe worked at Lindy's and the Columbus Club.
Joe's entire life was one of service. Known only to his closet friends, Joe had a deep faith and lived as a faithful Catholic. He was always ready to help anyone in need.
Joe was truly loved by his parents, brothers, sisters, in-laws, aunts, uncles, cousins, 25 nieces and nephews and his 27 grandnieces and grandnephews. As one of his best friends said at his passing, "This world will be a much duller place without him in it. Godspeed, Joe. You will be missed by more people than you can imagine."
Friends may call Thursday, November 10 from 4-7 p.m. at Egan-Ryan Funeral Home, 403 East Broad Street. Mass of Christian Burial will be Friday, November 11 at 11:00 a.m. at St. Matthew Church, 807 Havens Corners Road. Burial will Saturday, November 12 at 10 a.m. Ohio Western Reserve National Cemetery/