Former Caribbean Life editor to be laid to rest on Sept. 24

Tangerine Clarke with the late Kenton K. Kirby, editor emeritus of Caribbean Life newspaper.
Tangerine Clarke with the late Kenton K. Kirby, editor emeritus of Caribbean Life newspaper.
Courtesy Tangerine Clarke

Kenton K. Kirby’s body may have left this earth plain, but his precious, generous soul will live on in my heart, and the hearts of many who are mourning his loss.

The life of “Triple K” as I fondly referred to Kenton during the more that 25 years when he served as editor-in-chief of Caribbean Life newspaper, will be celebrated on Saturday, Sept. 24 from 5:00 p.m. to 7:00 p.m. at Frank J. Baron Hall, 4516 Ave. D, Brooklyn.

“My dear Kenton, I thought of you today. But that is nothing new. I thought about you yesterday. And days before that too. I think of you in silence. I often speak your name. Now all I have are memories. And your picture in a frame. Your memory is my keepsake. With which I’ll never part. God has you in his keeping. I have you in my heart. I love you, Kenton. I will miss you. Rest peacefully.”

More that 25 years ago, I walked into a supermarket, and came upon the Caribbean Life publication laying in a pile on a countertop. And since I had continued writing for other publications after leaving Guyana in 1983, I decided to pick up a copy, coming across Kenton Kirby as the editor of the paper.

After thumbing through the pages, I decided to call Kenton. Surprisingly at a busy newspaper, he answered. He was welcoming on the phone, and suggested I send him clippings of my previous work, which I did. And as the saying goes. The rest is history.

I joined other contributors and was delighted to work with Kenton who was kind, accommodating and helpful. He was a born mentor, teacher, and wonderful friend.

In the year 2013, after working with Kenton, for so many years, and noticing his work ethics, dedication to his craft, and engaging personality, I felt it was fitting to nominate him for an award for his exceptional work with the press.

The day of the ceremony in the Rotunda, under then BP Marty Markowitz, I stood proudly beside Kenton as he accepted a plaque from the President of the Guyana Tri-State Alliance, Patricia Jordon-Langford, and a Proclamation from Brooklyn Borough Hall, at the commemoration of Guyana’s 47th Anniversary of Independence.

Kenton, a Vincentian American, excelled in his homeland, holding the position as chief reporter of the Vincentian, the island’s major newspaper. He was also a correspondent for the Caribbean News Agency, UPI, Radio Barbados, and Radio Antilles.

His brilliance, kind heart and helpful spirit, made him a special person. He always found the time to communicate with me to ensure my articles were well-written, and always had a space among the pages of Caribbean Life.

Kenton, a public information specialist, earned his Bachelor’s Degree in Mass Communications from the University of the West Indies, and a Master’s Degree in Journalism from the International Institute for Journalism in Berlin. He was awarded numerous well-deserved accolades from organizations in the Diaspora.

Well known and loved among all quarters, Kenton was hailed as one of the most generous professionals in the business. He was a socialite, and towering figure whose delightful laughter, and welcoming smile captured the attention of everyone wherever he went.

He called me “Tangie,” and I remember clearly, while the Labor Day Caribbean Life issues were being prepared for Carnival weekend over the years, he would call and say, “Tangie, you must get your stories in early, the paper will be circulated on Eastern Parkway. A kind gesture I cherished when Kenton edited the publication.

After he left Caribbean Life, I stayed connected via phone. Two years ago, I took him Christmas gifts, and fellowshipped with him for a few hours at a Nursing Home in Canarsie.

Time between the two of us drifted away and when I found out that he had become a resident of the Susan B. McKinney facility, I spoke with him as much as he could communicate with me and tried my best to visit. But with COVID restrictions being in place for some time, and other factors, unfortunately, time did not permit me to say goodbye to Kenton. However, I know the close friendship we shared will endure forever.

To send flowers to the family or plant a tree in memory of Kenton K. Kirby, please visit our floral store.

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