In Memory of




Obituary for Joseph J. Kirby

Joseph J. Kirby, 91, beloved husband of Katherine W. Hoxsie of Fenner Lane, Stonington, died peacefully at his home on July 19, 2023 surrounded by his loving family. He was a man of great faith, love of family and service to his community.

Joe was born in Woonsocket, RI, the son of the late Charles L. and Genevieve C. Kirby. He was a graduate of Cranwell Preparatory School, the College of the Holy Cross, and New England College of Law. He served two years in the U. S. Army. Following his discharge, he joined Fiduciary Trust Company of Boston. In 1963, he accepted a position at The Washington Trust Company as an Investment Officer and moved his family to Westerly. Through the years, he worked his way up through the company becoming President and Chief Executive Officer in 1982 until his retirement in 1997.

Giving back to the community was an integral part of Joe’s life. He provided leadership and guidance to many organizations. Joe served on The Westerly Hospital Board of Trustees for 17 years and chaired the hospital’s Campaign 2000+. He was honored for his service by having the new addition dedicated to him. During his lifetime he was the recipient of many awards and honors.

Joe was a board member of the Westerly Library and Wilcox Park, Narragansett Electric and New England Bankcard Association and also served on the Westerly School Committee. He assisted many capital campaigns and annual fund drives including the United Way, Catholic Charities, and chaired the campaigns for South County Community Action and the YMCA 1993 Campaign. The Chorus of Westerly’s Summer Pops Concert was the beneficiary of his talents in the early years. He also helped to establish the Westerly Downtown Task Force. Professional associations include the Rhode Island Bankers Association and the American Bankers Association. As a proud Irishman he was a long-time member and past President of the Friendly Sons of St. Patrick. Joe was also a member of the Rhode Island Commodores and the Westerly Yacht Club.

Upon his retirement, he took up the game of golf and joined Stonington Country Club where he could be found most days. His infectious personality created friendships and led to many golf trips far and wide. He served on the Board at the Club and chaired their Strategic Planning Committee. Together with his son Mike, they won the 2-day Member Guest tournament two years in a row, an accomplishment he was very proud of. He loved all sports especially college basketball and followed all Boston professional sports teams but especially loved the Red Sox and the Patriots. He was a longtime member at Seaside Beach Club where he enjoyed swims in the ocean and relaxing with family and friends.

Faith was paramount to Joe’s life. He was a communicant of St. Pius X Church and immersed himself over the years in various parish ministries and committees. Many of the church’s youth benefitted from his years of coaching CYO basketball.

Joe was a highly respected professional, a humble leader, a generous volunteer, and a loyal friend who was loved by all who knew him. He will be sadly missed by his wife, Katherine, daughter Kathleen Kulig and her husband Robert; son Michael Kirby and his wife Sharon; daughter Ann Kirby and his cherished grandchildren Kyle and Megan Kirby. Joe was greatly loved by Katherine’s children, Kenyon Murphy and his wife Karen; Katherine Gardner and her husband Bryant. He was adored by his step grandchildren Cole and Cooper Murphy and Katherine and Margaret Gardner. He also leaves beloved nieces and nephews.

In addition to his parents, Joe was predeceased by his first wife, Lillian A. Kirby in 1999, two brothers Charles and Paul Kirby and his sister Anne Hope Kirby-Overmyer.

Visiting hours are respectfully omitted. A Mass of Christian Burial will be celebrated on Thursday July 27, 2023 at 10 am at St Pius X Church, 45 Elm Street, Westerly. Burial with Full Military Honors will follow at St. Sebastian Cemetery, Westerly. Donations are kindly appreciated and may be sent to The Westerly Hospital Foundation, 25 Wells Street, Westerly, RI 02891 or St Pius X Church, 45 Elm Street, Westerly RI 02891. Gaffney-Dolan Funeral Home, 59 Spruce Street, Westerly is in charge of arrangements. For online condolences please visit