Russell Bryan Kirkland, known to many as ‘Cletus’, passed away suddenly after a long struggle over the past several years on January 4, 2019 at Wiregrass Medical Center in Geneva, Alabama. He was born July 7, 1973 in Leesburg, Florida to Rayford Eugene Kirkland and Frankie Elizabeth Witt Kirkland.
Russell moved to Bonifay with family over 20 years ago. He was well-loved for his quick wit, good-humor and sharp retorts. He never met a stranger and remembered everyone he met and every story heard or book read. He couldn’t help but be the life of the party…he loved to laugh. His courage in face of physical disabilities and setbacks was a true test of strength and unwavering faith. His hobbies included hunting turkey, buffalo, deer and few other species. Also he loved hanging out at the Cigar Store (aka: Buddy’s Feed Store) to discuss history, politics and solving the world’s problems! His favorite music was outlaw country by Waylon, Willie, Hank, Johnny but please don’t ask him about Luke, the new country. Russell often gathered family and friends to share stories of long ago. Recalling events that often resulted in embarrassment for at least one person in attendance, to be followed by contagious laughter which only succeeded in encouraging the telling of the next story. Keep in mind “these stories” contained varying degrees of accuracy, while exaggerations and embellishments encouraged.
Russell is survived by his much older but nicer sister, Karen E. Kirkland of Melbourne, FL, his best friend and brother, Steve E. Kirkland of Bonifay, FL, and brother, Gary M. Kirkland of Panama City, FL; three nephews, Johnathan Kirkland, Taylor Kirkland and Zachary Kirkland. He was preceded in death by his father, Rayford Kirkland and mother, Frankie Kirkland.
Funeral services will be held 11:00 AM Wednesday, January 9, 2019, at First Baptist Church Bonifay. Interment will follow in the Steverson Cemetery with Peel Funeral Home directing. The family will receive friends from 5-7 PM Tuesday at First Baptist Church.
Memorial donations may be given to: Jeep Sullivan’s Wounded Warrior Outdoor Adventures, 1460 Boswell Road, Bonifay, Florida 32425 or Live Oak Assembly of God Church, 2118 Live Oak Road, Bonifay, Florida 32425.
We close with something Russell might have said, “Please don’t cry because I’m gone; instead be happy that I was here! Or maybe you can cry a little! After all, I have not gone…Today I am happy and dancing, probably naked.”