In Memoriam

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Howard Kirby Haltom ’92

A picture of Kirby Haltom

Howard Kirby Haltom ’92, March 8, 2010, at home in Austin, Texas. Kirby was raised by a single mother in Jackson, Tennessee, and came to Reed on an academic scholarship. With his laconic twang and his country charm, he cut a distinctive figure on campus. A lover of all things French, he majored in philosophy and literature and wrote his thesis on the surrealist author Georges Bataille. He was also an avid chess player; one summer, in an effort to master the Sicilian Defense, he and Chris Lydgate ’90 played an epic series of games all beginning with the same sequence of moves, alternately attacking and defending (Kirby was always dangerous with the black pieces). After Reed, Kirby worked in public relations in Dallas, Texas; he then moved to Austin, taught himself to write software, and became an exceptionally talented, gifted, and driven programmer. He married Elizabeth Addison and had a son, Griffin, and a daughter, Ada. In 2003, he earned an MBA from the University of Texas. Kirby never lost his whimsical sense of humor—a classic photo shows him wearing a pith helmet and smoking an elaborate calabash pipe. Certified as a minister through the internet, Kirby officiated at more than a dozen wedding ceremonies, including those of Eric Lutzker ’89 to Alicia Moffat and of Sam Hankins ’90 to Eileen Joyce. Kirby's funeral was attended by many Reed classmates, including Eric and Sam, Mike Axley ’89, Jeff Bridwell ’89, Caroline Dorman ’90, Liz Hale ’89, Greg Ippolito '89, Chris Roth ’90, Erica Tarrant ’90, and Francis Wiser ’89. Kirby is remembered for his wit, compassion, loyalty, devotion, and for recognizing the “joy and sparkle” in even the most ordinary moments. Survivors include his wife; son and daughter; two brothers, Mike and Aubrey; and his mother, Ouita.

Appeared in Reed magazine: September 2010

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