Lt Gen Donald Eugene Kirkland (Ret.) passed away on October 5th, 2023 at home, surrounded by his wife and children. He was born on September 15th, 1961 in Corpus Christi, TX to Don and Rosemary Kirkland. Gene, as he was affectionately known, dedicated himself wholeheartedly to a life of service to God, country, family, and friends.
Gene graduated from the University of Florida in 1987 before joining the US Air Force. Throughout his 33-year career, the Kirkland Family lived in exciting locales across the United States, including Alaska. Gene’s final military assignment was as commander of the Air Force Sustainment Center at Tinker AFB, OK. From 2021 to 2023, Gene then served as the inaugural executive director of the Oklahoma Aerospace and Defense Innovation Institution at the University of Oklahoma.
Beyond his professional life, Gene possessed a compassionate spirit and actively volunteered with his church and community. His greatest passion was the Special Olympics, which he supported as a coach and board member. In his free time, Gene enjoyed golf, reading, and listening to records.
Gene is survived by his beloved spouse Judy, as well as his daughter Annaken and son Jackson, both of Dayton, OH. His wisdom, wit, and humility will be greatly missed by his family.
In lieu of flowers, the family requests donations in Gene’s memory to Special Olympics Oklahoma at www.sook.org