North Carolina, USA
|Death: ||Jul. 12, 2001, British Virgin Islands|
The Rev. Rodney Kirk, an Episcopal priest who became a guiding spirit behind Manhattan Plaza, the Midtown Manhattan housing complex for artists and writers, which he directed for many years, died Thursday [July 12, 2001] at his home in St. Croix, V.I. He was 67 and had moved to St. Croix after retiring four years ago.
The cause was lung cancer, said Richard Hunnings, his companion of 42 years.
Mr. Kirk was on the staff of the Cathedral Church of St. John the Divine in the mid-1970's when he was given leave to help with the city's bicentennial celebrations. He played a big role in planning the fireworks and on-shore events that accompanied the first Operation Sail in 1976.
The same year he was recruited as the first director of Manhattan Plaza, the high-rise apartment complex on West 43rd Street. Its 1,689 units, all rent subsidized, filled up quickly after it opened in 1977. Seventy percent of the apartments are reserved for performing arts workers, 15 percent for the elderly and handicapped and 15 percent for residents of the neighborhood.
Mr. Kirk was the director of Manhattan Plaza until he retired in 1997.
He organized community support that permitted hundreds of aging neighborhood residents to keep their apartments with their dignity intact. He responded to the high incidence of H.I.V. and AIDS among tenants by organizing the Manhattan Plaza AIDS Project, a comprehensive support program.
Richard Rodney Kirk was born in Hendersonville, N.C. He graduated in 1955 from the University of the South in Sewanee, Tenn., and in 1958 from the General Theological Seminary in New York. He was ordained in Newton, N.C., and received a master's degree in psychiatry and religion from Union Theological Seminary in 1968.
A year later, he joined the staff of St. John the Divine, where he sought to broaden its membership and community service with annual festivals and cultural, ethnic and social programs.
While administering Manhattan Plaza, he continued to work as a priest, and often celebrated Communion and performed baptisms and weddings.
In addition to Mr. Hunnings, who lives in Manhattan, Mr. Kirk is survived by a son, Kirk Romero of Coral Gables, Fla.; and a brother, William, of Rockville, Md.
William Deaderick Kirk (1894 - 1964)
Gertrude Frances Summerow-Shope Kirk (1905 - 1981)
Calvary Episcopal Church Cemetery
North Carolina, USA
Created by: Trent Olsen
Record added: Dec 03, 2010
Find A Grave Memorial# 62506664