Office of Public Information and Communications
Columbia University
New York, N.Y.  10027
(212) 854-5573

Fred Knubel, Director of Public Information
May 20, 1996

Marion Kirk, Wife of Former Columbia President, Dies

Marion Sands Kirk, active in the arts in New York for many years as the wife of Columbia University President Grayson L. Kirk, died Friday (May 17, 1996) in Washington Court House, Ohio, after a long illness. She was 92. She had lived in Bronxville, N.Y., before moving to Auburn Manor, a nursing home in Washington Court House, 11 years ago.

During Dr. Kirk's presidency from 1953 to 1968, Mrs. Kirk organized a number of art exhibitions on the Columbia campus and at galleries in the city to benefit art scholarships. Of note was a 1967 exhibition of oil sketches from the 17th and 18th centuries titled "Masters of the Loaded Brush - From Rubens to Tiepolo" at M. Knoedler & Co. on East 57th Street, which she co-chaired with art collector and industrialist Edwin C. Vogel.

Mrs. Kirk was involved in many aspects of university life and was hostess to major world leaders who visited the campus.

Born May 6, 1904, in Hillsboro, Ohio, Mrs. Kirk spent much of her childhood in Louisville, Ky., where her father was an official of the B&O Railroad. She attended Philadelphia Teachers College and taught in the Philadelphia public schools. She married Dr. Kirk in 1925.

For more than 30 years, she was a trustee of the Home for Old Men and Aged Couples in Manhattan and its successor corporations, Amsterdam House and the Isaac Tuttle Fund. She was a member of the Cathedral Guild of the Cathedral Church of St. John the Divine and a member of the Council of the New York Botanical Garden. She held the rank of Dame in the Venerable Order of the Hospital of St. John of Jerusalem.

Besides her husband, who resides in Bronxville, Mrs. Kirk is survived by a son, John Grayson Kirk of Bronxville, four granddaughters and two great-grandchildren. Services will be held Tuesday, May 21, at the Morrow Funeral Home in Washington Court House. Burial will take place in the family plot in Jeffersonville, Ohio. Contributions in lieu of flowers may be made to the Department of Art History and Archaeology at Columbia.