One of Long Beach’s brightest stars, Alma Winifred Howard Kirkland passed away on Wednesday August 19th surrounded by her loving children.
She was born in the oil boom town of Long Beach, California, at Seaside Hospital, on June 26, 1927 to Harold Wendell Howard and Frances Winifred Chenot. She was proud to be a third generation Long Beach girl and lived her entire 93 years in Long Beach! Alma attended school at Fremont Elementary, Franklin Junior High, and Wilson High School.
As a young girl she loved spending her afternoons at the Pike, especially enjoying the Merry Go Round and the Cyclone Racer! On Saturdays she loved the double-header movies at the Art Theater. In High School it was the beach in Belmont Shore, Wilson Football games, dances, her sorority SFO, and Alma excelled in writing, speech and spelling.
After WW II she met the handsome Frank Kirkland, a star football player for Santa Barbara State College, who had served in the Coast Guard in the South Pacific. Frank swept her off her feet and they were married on September 2, 1946.
Soon their first child Kris was born, followed by Linda and Scott. Alma took great pride in mothering her children. She was an amazing cook and had a perfectly clean and organized home! While the kids were young, Alma loved to take them to the beach, on camping trips, and always made time to attend their activities and athletic events. Using her talents she memorized and recited poetry, wrote beautiful poems and children stories and directed her own original plays at the YMCA.
Frank was employed as the Director of Special Services at the Naval Base in Long Beach which gave Alma the opportunity to write a column for the Press Telegram called “Navy Circles” which featured the lives of those serving in Vietnam and their families. Alma and the kids were very involved with activities and events held at the Naval Base.
In her 40’s Alma became a Realtor commencing with Century 21 and was a top agent for over thirty years. She eventually became a co-owner of Boardwalk Realty with her good friend Lorna Rowland and her daughter Kris. At the time of retirement she was working for Kris’ Coldwell Banker brokerage. As a real estate agent, Alma built long-lasting relationships with her clients who became loyal friends. When Frank passed away prematurely in 1982, Alma’s real estate career comfortably provided for her throughout her retirement years.
Alma would say that one of her greatest accomplishments is the person she became through her association with Alcoholics Anonymous. She would have been proud to celebrate forty-eight years of recovery on October 14, 2020. Through her AA associations, Alma has left quite a legacy which will continue to expand as the numerous people she counseled pass her wisdom on to many others. Because of her service Alma will forever live in the hearts of so many!
In the 1990’s, Alma was baptized into the Catholic Church, joining many of her dear friends where they faithfully attended mass together at St. Bartholomew’s and enjoyed a Bible Study group in her home for many years.
Alma was an avid Los Angeles Dodgers fan! She knew all of the players (Chris Taylor was her favorite!), loved Vin Scully, wore her Dodger outfits while watching the games, and even wanted updates during her final few days of life.
Alma is survived and adored by her 3 children, 6 grandchildren and 13 great-grandchildren and was preceded in death by her husband Frank and grandson Cary Kirkland. As a family we are so grateful for the many wonderful caregivers that blessed Alma’s life with years of selfless loving service!
To honor Alma’s amazing life, a viewing will be held on Friday August 28th from 6-8 pm at the Luyben Dilday Mortuary in Long Beach and a graveside service will follow on Saturday the 29th at Green Hills Memorial Park in Palos Verdes at 3 pm. In lieu of flowers, donations can be made to The Salvation Army or the American Red Cross in Alma’s name.
Arrangements entrusted to Luyben Dilday Mortuary luybendilday.com