May 27, 2018

Roberta Kirby Memorial Service, Lunch, Saturday, March 2


For those who knew Roberta Kirby, one of the Canyon’s favorite people, a memorial service will be held on Saturday, March 2, 11:30 a.m., at the Topanga Christian Fellowship, 269 Old Topanga Canyon Road. Topanga, CA, 90290, (310) 455-1048.

Following the memorial, a potluck reception will be held at the Community House, 1440 N. Topanga Canyon Blvd., Topanga, CA 90290, (310) 455-1980.

Kirby taught many of Topanga’s children and taught the Canyon a thing or two about amiability and originality.


Written by Joyce Chambers, Sister, Maryville, MO
—Roberta June Dowis Kirby, 88, died Sunday November 4, 2012, at her home in Topanga, California. She was born in 1924 at Sheridan, Mo. to William Jr. (June) & Cleola F. (Quete Morgan) Dowis. She married Dan Kirby in 1961. They celebrated their 51st Anniversary in Oct. 2012.

Roberta and her sister, Bette, moved to California during World War 11 and worked in factories as "Rosie The Riveters" helping build airplanes for the war. Then she joined the World Council of Churches, a precursor to the Peace Corps, and sailed on the Seven Seas ship. She worked in post-war Germany and North Africa helping build churches and homes. After graduating from CSUN she taught school and soon only substituted because she and Dan loved to travel so much. Besides teaching, she was a wonderful storyteller. Pupils enjoyed having her walk into the school often wearing a bright pink hat! When she came to Sheridan to visit her parents on the farm, she would pick up odd things like hedge balls, buckeyes and such things that California children had never seen.

One time Roberta told me I should not say naughty words because God had a big chart in heaven with everyone's name on it and he'd put a black mark beside my name if I said something bad. From there on, I tried to be very good.

Roberta was preceded in death by her parents, her brother Charles N. Dowis, two nieces, Becky and Cathy, and a nephew, Dirk. Besides her husband, Dan, she is survived by her sisters Bette Bradley of Yorba Linda, CA; Joyce Chambers of Maryville, MO; and a brother, Franklin M. Dowis, of Colorado Springs, CO; as well as many cousins, nieces and nephews.

Roberta's ashes will be brought back to be placed beside her parents in the Brethren Cemetery near Sheridan, MO, where she was baptized many years ago.

Written by Franklin Dowis, brother, Colorado Springs, CO—Roberta left home while I was still young. I remember her coming home for visits and that she was the one who taught him about the birds and the bees. She was always smiling and happy. When she and Bette came home for visits, it was always a big deal. When I was 16, I remember that she was a terrible driver. I didn't want her driving my car, as it would buck and snort like a bucking bronco and she had a terrible time with the clutch. Later on, I always drove. I never rode with her, but hope that she got better at driving.

Written By Lieutenant Colonel Tom Morgan, Cousin Lacy, Washington—We are so saddened to hear of Roberta' death. I have such happy memories of her. She visited us in Puerto Rico and came to see me at West Point. I especially remember the visit to Paris when we were (stationed) at SHAPE (Belgium). I think the last time we visited with her was in '99 when Grace and I came back from a trip to Vietnam through Los Angeles. I can well imagine that she faced death with a smile on her face. She certainly had that Dowis spirit. We will all miss her very much. "Bobby" (Roberta's nickname) was really a wonderful person.

Written By Dr. Cindy Dowis, Niece, Kirkwood, MO.—My Aunt Roberta was the aunt that traveled the world working with an organization building churches and working with people. She was the aunt that climbed trees with you and took all the cousins camping by Honey Creek. We had our food in a basket and we lifted it up into a tree so the bears would not get it and I had my first s’mores over a campfire. She also brought you presents from different countries. I still have my mosaic pin from Italy.

Written By Tama Bradley: Niece, Laguna Beach, California—When we went to Aunt Roberta's house we knew we were on an adventure. She and Uncle Dan took us camping to Yosemite National Park in their camper [that] Uncle Dan built, pitched a tent at Point Mugu State Park, walked Will Rogers State Beach and went to Joshua Tree to see the desert in full bloom and stay at their cabin as kids. We rolled down sand dunes and experienced the beauty of nature that we never saw before.

When we visited her home in Topanga we got to ride horses she boarded and collect eggs from the chickens she raised. We shoveled manure and hauled it in a wheel barrow called Bertie's Buggy. We flew in Uncle Dan's prized Cessna to Catalina Island for buffalo burgers and took rides in their bright orange jeep on the twisting roads of Topanga. One time as we were driving home on Colina Drive there was a huge King snake that was stretched out the width of the street. We marveled as Aunt Roberta told its story. We attended the annual Strawberry Festivals where people called "hippies" frequented. We were in heaven....such excitement for us.

As adults we still reminisce about our childhood. Aunt Roberta was quite an actress and storyteller, too. Usually her stories would end in a good belly laugh. One of the stories she told was of a naked man coming to her door early in the morning.

"Oh Aunt Roberta....what did you do?" I exclaimed.

She replied calmly. "Well, kid, I gave him some of Dan's clothes and made him breakfast." She sure could make a mean buckwheat waffle and tamale pie.

She never said an unkind word about anyone and made the BEST out of all situations. Before homeopathics was big, Aunt Roberta was already giving us kids bags of dried seeds and flowers to use for medicinal purposes.

She was a world traveler and went on several mission trips. She loved to know what made people tick. She inspired me to become a world traveler. She also gave us religious tracts and shared the word of God with us. Her exuberance overwhelmed us as she spoke of the Lord. She introduced us to Vacation Bible School which we attended as kids. The most important gift she ever gave me was a personal relationship with our Lord Jesus Christ and eternal life in heaven which is her home now.

That is why I call her Aunt "Remarkable" Roberta.