Malcolm Adam Kirby


Pittsford NY:  September 30, 2015.  Malcolm Adam Kirby, age 61, joined his father and beloved grandparents on Wednesday, September 30th, 2015 as he passed in the comfort of his home surrounded by his loving wife, sister and children. Malcolm was born in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania on May 4th, 1954, to Adrienne Adam Kirby and Charles Kirby. Charles was a cardiothoracic surgeon and Professor of Surgery at the University of Pennsylvania. Adrienne is a painter as well as a disciplined student of Zen Buddhism. Malcolm grew up in Bryn Mawr, Pennsylvania, and graduated from The Booth School in 1972. He attended his father’s alma mater, Trinity College in Hartford, Connecticut where he received a Bachelor of Arts in Music and History. At Trinity, he met his soulmate Catherine Haven Kirby, who was coincidentally brought into this world on his exact birthdate. He later attended Temple University where he received a Master of Arts in Communications. Malcolm and Catherine were married on June 11th, 1977, in Martha’s Vineyard, Massachusetts, and shared a devout and deeply committed life together for 40 years. Their unconditional and profound love was shared with their 3 children, Malcolm Jr., Elliott and Caroline. Malcolm Sr. was the keystone of this unit, supporting them through every challenge, success, and failure without a critical word. His utmost priority was their happiness and spending time with them. Most recently, his greatest joy came from his 3 year-old grandchild, Ezra Kirby, whose fascination with the world and charisma delighted Malcolm every day as did the news of his soon-to-arrive grand-daughter.

He described himself as a very fortunate man, and continued to do so until his final hours. His unwavering positivity and ironic perspective on life were an inspiration to all who met him. He was an extremely gifted musician, playing the guitar, piano, bass, fiddle, and bagpipes. He was an active participant in the music community of Rochester playing with numerous bands over the years, such as the Swamp Padres. This year marked his 10th year as a member and 7th year on the board of the Rochester Scottish Pipes and Drums. His two sons, who are both successful musicians and bass players, carry on his love and passion for music. He was an avid sailor, and member of the Genesee Yacht Club where he raced every Tuesday night with a crew of great friends on the boat “Double Shot.” He was known for playing his bagpipes on the deck of the boat after many races, especially the Hospice Regatta, as the boats docked. He was also an expert in many facets of history, particularly Music History, the Vietnam War, the Civil War, and both World Wars. He was spiritually connected to Zen Buddhist philosophy, and embodied its ideals every day of his life. Professionally, Malcolm worked as an apprentice to a piano luthier in Philadelphia until he was offered a job at Xerox, moving Malcolm, Catherine and Mal Jr to Rochester, NY in 1982. For the past 11 years, Malcolm was the Architect and Security Manager for Xerox web-based and internet-facing applications. Prior to that he was the Senior Director of Global Network Services at the Frontier Corporation.

Malcolm is survived by his wife and life long partner Catherine, who is a retired Professor of Art Emeritus from Nazareth College; his children, eldest son Malcolm Jr. and daughter-in-law Mamiko Kitaura of Los Angeles, both professional musicians and expecting a baby daughter; second son Elliott Kirby, Senior Interaction Designer at Brand Networks, and daughter-in-law Leigh Kirby, a music therapist, of Rochester, NY; and youngest child Caroline Kirby of Syracuse, NY who will graduate from Upstate Medical School in May of this upcoming year; his grandchild, Ezra Kirby, who will turn 4 this month; his mother, Adrienne Bachrach of Southwest Harbor, ME; his siblings, sister Alice Dark and brother-in-law Larry Dark of Montclair, NJ, sister Robin Kirby and brother-in-law Eric Kirby of Boston, Massachusetts, and brother William Kirby and sister-in-law Dinah Kirby of Wilmington, DE as well as numerous nieces and nephews

The family would like to thank his oncology team at the Wilmot Cancer Center, as well as the support provided by his home hospice care team from Visiting Nurse Services. In particular they would like to thank Kathy Lechner, who was an invaluable comfort to the family in their greatest time of need.

A Memorial Service and Celebration of Life will be held at the First Unitarian Church at 220 South Winton Road, Rochester, NY 14610 on Sunday October 11th, 2015 at 3pm.

The family asks that all donations be made to the Sunset House Hospice, 3746 St. Paul Boulevard, Rochester, NY 14617 or to the Visiting Nurse Foundation, 2180 Empire Boulevard, Webster, NY 14580 in Memory of Malcolm Adam Kirby.

Rochester Cremation, 4044 W. Henrietta Road, Rochester NY 14623, 359-2300,


10 Condolences

  1. Sheree Barrett on October 6, 2015 at 1:06 pm

    Malcolm’s kind and gentle spirit will always be remembered.

  2. Dick Archer on October 6, 2015 at 1:55 pm

    Best Bass player I ever knew. Period. Looks like a wonderful life lived by a great guy I once knew. God Bless his soul.

  3. Malcolm Kirby family on October 6, 2015 at 3:32 pm
  4. John Cramp on October 7, 2015 at 8:46 am

    am crestfallen…like a punch in the gut…am speechless and profoundly saddened… what a friend.. what a loss…I remember hanging out in Cape May and parties at Higbees Beach, all the jam sessions, listening to music with him, Florida trips.. what an integral and meaningful part of my early years. Malcom, you have departed the physical world but will always be with us..what a special man you were. I am honoured to have known you and to be able to call you my friend. Rest in piece buddy!

  5. Pamela Griffin (Nazareth) on October 7, 2015 at 1:16 pm

    Kathy and Family,

    We are so sorry to hear about the passing of your husband and want you to know that you are in our thoughts and prayers. May God Bless all of you always!

    Pamela Griffin

  6. Glenn Watts on October 8, 2015 at 2:25 pm

    It was an honor and a privilege to have known Malcolm
    and too have been a Piper with him. He will be missed
    at RSPD.

  7. Melissa Boyack on October 8, 2015 at 4:31 pm

    Dear Cathy,

    I was so sorry to read of Malcolm’s death in the church newsletter. I only met him briefly once or twice, but the writing here conveys a strong sense of a full life lived, with great love all around. My heart goes out to you and your family.

    With love,

  8. Sheila Robben-Guerra on October 13, 2015 at 11:19 am

    Malcolm was a gentle soul and always treated everyone with respect. He had an ease about him and was always approachable. He will be missed by many.

    So sorry for your loss.

  9. Anitra on July 23, 2016 at 2:11 am

    I thought I’d have to read a book for a diersvocy like this!

  10. Jane Smyth Courtland on September 30, 2018 at 12:07 pm

    Sending my thoughts & sentiments to the family on this day.
    Jane Smyth Courtland

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