Dr. Paul Madison Kirkman passed away on May 18, 2023, at the age of 84.
He was born July 20, 1938, to Clay and Sarah Jane “Janie” Kirkman in Madison, North Carolina.
In addition to his parents, he was preceded in death by his sisters, Fentress Scott (John) and Eleanor Rudolph (Hal), and his brother, Clay Macy Kirkman, Jr. (Eunice).
He is survived by his wife of 62 years, Phebe McDonald Kirkman; daughters, Sarah Kirkman Lunsford (Michael) and Anne K. Jones (David); and grandchildren, Daniel Jones, Ross Jones, Kathryn Lunsford, Erica Gilbert (Madison), and Austin Lunsford.
Dr. Kirkman graduated from Madison High School in 1956 and the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill with a degree in pharmacy in 1960. He then attended and graduated from the Bowman Gray School of Medicine at Wake Forest University.
He practiced internal medicine in Sylva, North Carolina, before serving in the United States Army from 1970-1972. He was stationed at Fort Sam Houston, Texas; Long Binh Post, Vietnam; and Fort Benning, Georgia. He attained the rank of Major and received the National Defense Service Medal.
Following his military service, he practiced internal medicine in Waynesville, North Carolina, before moving to Hershey, Pennsylvania, where he completed his cardiology training at Penn State University, Hershey Medical Center.
Upon becoming a cardiologist, Dr. Kirkman opened a practice in Statesville, North Carolina, where he worked from 1979-1994. In 1994, he joined the faculty of the Wake Forest School of Medicine as an Associate Professor of Cardiology, where he worked until his retirement in 2017.
Dr. Kirkman and his wife were long-time members of Broad Street United Methodist Church in Statesville. He loved the Tar Heels and could be heard rooting for them even when he was sitting in his Wake Forest seats at the Joel Coliseum. He loved to exercise, especially walking and riding his exercise bike. He loved the beach, and he could be seen many weekends sitting in his chair at Myrtle Beach, just watching the waves and the people.
He was an avid reader, especially of non-fiction books, and he loved spending time with his family. He attended his grandchildren’s sports events from hockey to basketball and even cheerleading. He was known to his family, including his many nieces and nephews, as a great storyteller and joke-teller. He cared for many patients from many different places over the years, and one of his favorite sayings was: “It’s nice to be important, but it’s more important to be nice.”
A visitation will be held Wednesday, May 24, from 5:00 to 7:00 p.m., at Troutman Funeral Home, Troutman. Funeral services will be conducted at 2:00 p.m., Thursday, May 25, at Broad Street UMC in Statesville with Rev. Sonny Reavis officiating. Burial will follow at Oakwood Cemetery in Statesville with military honors.
In lieu of flowers, memorials may be made to Dove House Children’s Advocacy Center, 2407 Simonton Road, Statesville, NC 28625; or Atrium Health Wake Forest Baptist Heart and Vascular Fund, Office of Philanthropy and Alumni Relations, PO Box 571021, Winston-Salem, NC 27157-1021.