Kirkland ~ Deacon Willie W. Kirkland, well known as “Jr”, passed away peacefully February 19, 2023, with his loving and dedicated wife at his side. He was born to the late Willie Kirkland and Louise Kirkland McCloud July 23, 1947, in Jacksonville, Florida. Willie received his early education in the local public schools in Duval County, graduating from Stanton Vocational School. He was a truck drive all his adult life, retiring in 2008.
Willie accepted Christ at an early age and was a faithful member and served on the Deacon Ministry of New Spirit Full Gospel Word Church – he was a deacon and worship leader. Willie began his gospel singing with his mother’s group, The McCloud Gospel Singers. Later, Willie joined the family group, New Creation Gospel Singers. He also sang with Victory Gospel Singers, The Singing Souls, just to name a few.
He met Rosa Lee Simpkins at a gospel program, and they were later united in holy matrimony as husband and wife March 15, 1997. Willie, affectionally known for fishing especially with his sons out on the boat, barbecuing, and singing. His favorite basketball team was the Los Angeles Lakers and his favorite football team was Dallas Cowboys.
Deacon Willie Kirkland was preceded in death by his parents; brother, Ephron Johnson; sister, Ruby Marie McCloud. He leaves to cherish his memory a loving and devoted wife of twenty-five years, Rosa Kirkland; sons, Willie (Bobbie) Kirkland, William Kirkland; daughters, Deidra (David Jr) Gardner, Tina Jenkins; eight grandchildren; twelve great grandchildren; brothers, James (Cindy) Johnson, Pastor Stanley (Tangie) Johnson; sister, Pastor Wilhelmenia (Bishop Forest) Gilbert; sister-in-law, Lee Johnson; a loving and devoted aunt, Wylene Hughes; his dudes, David III & Donte Gardner; godson, Minister Horace (Sadie) Scott; best friend, Coach Freddie Stephens; a host of nephews, nieces, family and friends who loved him dearly.
Family and friends will gather to celebrate the life of Deacon Willie Kirkland, 11 AM Friday, February 24, 2023, at New Spirit Full Gospel Word Church, 4511 Soutel Drive, Bishop Forest Gilbert, Pastor. Visitation Thursday from 5 – 7 PM at The Soutel Chapel. Interment is Restlawn Memorial Park. Because of the love of his family, arrangements entrusted to J. E. Fralin & Sons Funeral & Cremation Services, 5065 Soutel Dr, 904.924.9400.
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