Jim Kirk at the counter of his kitchen in his home on Oak Bay Avenue in 2011.

Jim Kirk at the counter of his kitchen in his home on Oak Bay Avenue in 2011.

Jim Kirk’s booming voice and contagious laughs will be missed

Eclectic and interesting, Oak Bay’s Jim Kirk dies at age 75

Oak Bay lost a village icon with the death of Jim Kirk on Saturday, Sept. 6.

“We feel so lost,” said Penny Farthing Pub owner Matt MacNeil, echoing the sentiment of Kirk’s many friends.

Born in New Westminster, Kirk moved to Victoria in 1989 when he purchased four buildings on Oak Bay Avenue where he continued to live until his death at age 75.

“Jim was many things to many people but to our family, he was a warm, kind and generous friend who made a difference to our lives,” said Oak Bay councillor Cairine Green. “He was a man of many talents – an artist, a musician, a bonsai gardener, a gourmet cook, a sculptor, a musician and former music teacher and an astute businessman.”

Kirk owned the building that houses the Penny Farthing Pub and other shops on Oak Bay Avenue. It was above the pub and Vis a Vis where he created a beautiful penthouse suite and gardens that were an oasis from the busy avenue below.

“Jim was also a benefactor to his community, supporting a number of initiatives, projects and individuals in his 25 years of living in Oak Bay,” said Green. “Jim was truly a Renaissance man and when you met him, you never quite forgot him. He was delightfully flamboyant, opinionated and remarkably intelligent. You knew when he was nearby by his booming voice and contagious laugh. He will be sorely missed.”

Former Oak Bay Mayor Christopher Causton said Kirk was, “a very special individual who played a key role in Oak Bay without many people knowing.”

“It’s such sad news,” said Mayor Nils Jensen. “He was a valued member of our community. He was an eclectic, interesting man full of stories and willing to share his views on life. I always enjoyed speaking with him.”

Jensen said the renovation of the Penny Farthing and buildings surrounding it are an integral part of the character of Oak Bay.

“One legacy Jim left is the beautiful streetscape in the renovation of the block he owns. It’s an iconic part of our avenue and that’s all thanks to Jim and his vision and his work with Matt MacNeil.”

“I was one of the few who knows how generous he was to the community and his friends over the years,” said MacNeil. “I met Jim in 1998, 1999 when I first approached him to see if he was interested in having his property redeveloped.”

MacNeil, his wife Wendy, and Kirk became good friends over the years.

“He became a close friend and he was an outstanding landlord. … He liked his buildings pristine. They look brand new. He took pride in ownership and he had community pride, which showed in the way he took care of things.”

MacNeil described Kirk as a kind and generous man to both those who knew him well and people he just met. “We watched it for many years,” MacNeil said. “He had eight or nine friends through the years who he helped go to university or college or to trade school. He helped change their lives – paid for all of them to go to school.

“He had time for everybody. … He was a wonderful listener. He was interested in you and anything you were interested in.”

As a former music theory professor at the University of British Columbia, Kirk was a proponent of both education and the arts.

“Art was a huge part of his life,” said MacNeil. “He painted and welded, sculpted metal – he was a tremendous gardener. He specialized in bonsai, he spent hours in his garden … it was stunning.”

Kirk also had a great ear for music and enjoyed a variety of genres. “He had great taste. He enjoyed all the arts, he was a big supporter of theatre. He was a regular at the Belfry,” said MacNeil.

“Above all for me …” MacNeil said, his voice breaking. “We laughed. … We laughed so long and so hard sometimes, we cried. That’s how I’ll remember him.”

 

 

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

A decade into the 100-year blueprint for restoring the Bowker Creek watershed, Soren Henrich, director of the Friends of Bowker Creek Society, feels positive about the future of conservation and daylighting of the creek. (Nina Grossman/News Staff)
Ten years in, Greater Victoria’s 100-year Bowker Creek blueprint gets a boost

Victoria council passes several restoration recommendations

During a press event on March 6, Const. Alex Berube, media relations officer for the West Shore RCMP, addressed a deadly shooting that occurred in Metchosin the night before. (Devon Bidal/News Staff)
VIDEO: One man shot dead in ‘targeted incident’ on Sooke Road

Highway 14 reopens following multi-hour closure for investigation

Victoria man Brett Andersen is asking for people’s help to secure him one of eight free tickets to the moon. (Screenshot/@brettandersen Instagram)
Victoria man wants your help securing a free ticket to the moon

Japanese billionaire offering eight people a trip to the moon

A resurfacing of the tennis court in Metchosin is being eyed for the community. However, funding opportunities still need to be solidified for the project. (Michelle Cabana/Black Press Media)
Renewed surface eyed for Metchosin tennis court

Funding source must first be solidified in order for project to happen

The James C Richardson Pipe Band marches in a Remembrance Day parade on Nov. 11, 2019 in Chilliwack. Wednesday, March 10 is International Bagpipe Day. (Jenna Hauck/ Chilliwack Progress file)
Unofficial holidays: Here’s what people are celebrating for the week of March 7 to 13

International Bagpipe Day, Wash Your Nose Day and Kidney Day are all coming up this week

The Conservation Officers Service is warning aquarium users after invasive and potentially destructive mussels were found in moss balls from a pet store. (BC Conservation Officers Service/Facebook)
Aquarium users in B.C. warned after invasive mussels found at pet store

Conservation officers were told the mussels were found in a moss ball from a Terrace pet store.

Hockey hall-of-fame legend Wayne Gretzky, right, watches the casket of his father, Walter Gretzky, as it is carried from the church during a funeral service in Brantford, Ont., Saturday, March 6, 2021. HE CANADIAN PRESS/Nathan Denette
Walter Gretzky remembered as a man with a ‘heart of gold’ at funeral

The famous hockey father died Thursday at age 82 after battling Parkinson’s disease

Donald Alan Sweet was once an all star CFL kicker who played for the Montreal Alouettes and Montreal Concordes over a 13-year career. Photo courtesy of Mission RCMP.
Ex-B.C. teacher who was CFL kicker charged with assault, sexual crimes against former students

Donald Sweet taught in Mission School District for 10 years, investigators seek further witnesses

(Black Press Media files)
Medicine gardens help Victoria’s Indigenous kids in care stay culturally connected

Traditional plants brought to the homes of Indigenous kids amid the COVID-19 pandemic

Personal protective equipment is seen in the COVID-19 intensive care unit at St. Paul’s hospital in downtown Vancouver. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jonathan Hayward
$16.9 million invested to improve worker safety, strengthen B.C.’s food supply chain

Money to be used for social distancing, personal protective equipment, cleaning, and air circulation

More than ever before, as pandemic conditions persist, the threat of data breaches and cyberattacks continues to grow, according to SFU professor Michael Parent. (Pixabay photo)
SFU expert unveils 5 ways the COVID-19 pandemic has forever changed cybersecurity

Recognizing these changes is the first in a series of steps to mitigate them once the pandemic ends, and before the next: Michael Parent

Kevin Haughton is the founder/technologist of Courtenay-based Clearflo Solutions. Scott Stanfield photo
Islander aims Clearflo clean drinking water system at Canada’s remote communities

Entrepreneur $300,000 mobile system can produce 50,000 litres of water in a day, via solar energy

Most Read