Grace Adelaide Buck Kirk
1902 - 1998
Grace Kirk was a mezzo-soprano who taught voice and piano lessons, led choirs in Adventist schools and Methodist churches, occasionally played piano in Catholic churches, and coached and sponsored vocal groups who came to her for assistance. A graduate of Union College, she also completed a second diploma in voice at Emmanuel Missionary College, now Andrews University, in 1929.
Grace was born in Pennsylvania and raised near Cedar Lake Academy, now Great Lakes Adventist Academy, in Michigan, one of six children and the younger of two daughters of Samuel James and Novella A. Cook Buck. After graduating from CLA, she became a Bible worker and assisted with music in evangelism before attending EMC for a short while. She then enrolled in the music program at Union College where she directed the college's academy choir while completing a music diploma.
In 1927 Grace returned to Michigan and enrolled at EMC, where she completed the "Conservatory Voice Course" in 1929. That summer she accepted a position at CLA to teach voice lessons, direct the choir, and teach language for a year.
At the end of that year she accepted a position as music teacher and preceptress at Shelton Academy, later Platte Valley Academy, in Nebraska. She married Otho Clarence Kirk in 1932. They later briefly team taught in a church school in Illinois, before going to Oak Park Academy in Iowa where they work for many years. Their daughter, Elaine Kirk (Badiere), a violinist, who attended Atlantic Union College from 1958 to 1960, graduated from Andrews University with a music degree in 1962.
Grace started teaching piano in the late 1940s and eventually had a studio of over forty students. The Kirks were living in Nevada, Iowa, when he died in 1974; she died 24 years later at age 96.
Sources: 1910, 1920,1930 U.S. Federal Census Records; Central Union Outlook, 20 March 1927, 8; Field Tidings, 12 December 1928,7; Lake Union Herald, 8 May 1929 (graduation) and numerous references in 1916-1923, 1927-1930 issues; General Conference Committee minutes, 17 April 1930, 1132; Obituary for Otho Kirk, Northern Union Outlook, 14 October 1974, 16; Samuel Buck's obituary, Lake Union Herald, 3 November 1936, 7; Article and obituary in the Andrews University Focus, Unknown issue in 1993 or 1994 (Alumni Spotlight) and Winter 1999 (The obituary lists her as having received a B.A. in 1932. This appears to be an error).