Jonathan Michael Kirby was an extremely talented musician and songwriter who passed away on November 24th, 2023 in San Francisco. Jonathan was born June 9, 1994 in Lebanon, New Hampshire, but he claims Attleboro, MA as his childhood home. Jonathan has 3 sisters, Krissy, Carrie, and Ellie. The 4 “Kirby Kubs” were inseparable in all their childhood activities. Jonathan enjoyed working with his dad on home and car repair chores and on political campaigns. At the age of 9, Jonathan was elected by his peers as the first Chairperson of the Attleboro Youth Commission and spent 6 years in that position.
As children, Jonathan and his sisters spent a great deal of time in music and performing classes. Jonathan had performed in small group productions of “The Lion, The Witch and The Wardrobe” and “The Mikado”. Later, Jonathan joined Triboro Youth Theatre where he appeared in “The Sound of Music” and “South Pacific,” then performed with The Black Box Theatre of Mansfield where he performed in “1776” and “Caught in the Act: a Radio Play”. Throughout this time, Jonathan took dance lessons at April, May, and June School of Dance where he won a student choreography showcase tap competition. To round out his early performing years, Jonathan performed in one season of “The Nutcracker” at The Providence Performing Arts Center in Providence, RI.
At age 14, Jonathan began to take piano lessons at the Piano Key in Seekonk and took to the piano immediately. Soon, while performing with the Children’s Choir at St. John’s Church, Jonathan taught himself how to play the church organ. Jonathan and his sister Caroline filled in for a season of Christmas Concerts at LaSalette Shrine. Not long after, he taught himself to play the guitar and started writing music. During summers as a teenager, Jonathan perfected his landscaping techniques and learned to cook by working at the Cafe Counter at Briggs Nursery in North Attleboro.
Jonathan attended The Catholic University of America in Washington, D.C. to study Music Composition, where his older sister was already studying education. While there, he joined the Redline Acapella group, where he was featured in a number of songs and wrote vocal arrangements for many others. One extraordinary accomplishment, besides regularly singing and playing for liturgies with his peers, was getting selected to be part of the choir that sang at the Mass for Pope Francis when he visited the United States in 2015 at the Basilica of the National Shrine of the Immaculate Conception in DC. As a graduate student, Jonathan continued to write and perform music, including singing with Carrie as part of a choir performing Beethoven’s Ninth Symphony, conducted by Gustavo Dudamel at the Kennedy Center in 2018. He was hired to be the Grad Student Liturgy Assistant for CUA where he supported the community by playing at liturgies throughout his two years in that role.
After graduation, Jonathan found a number of jobs, including being hired as a composer/writer/performer at Imagination Stage where he worked with elementary school students on original plays and musicals in Bethesda, MD. Soon after, he began working at Holy Trinity School in Georgetown, where Krissy had been teaching, and taught both Music and Art. He was an integral member of the staff and helped create successful community events like Art Shows and the Christmas Show. Most recently, Jonathan became a member of the Cathedral Choral Society and sang at the Washington National Cathedral.
Jonathan met Madeline Belknap at CUA, and while studying for his masters degree, their relationship began to flourish. They found common interests in music, teaching, hiking, cats, family, and exploring. Friends and family knew that the two of them had a certain something that told the world, “these two are best friends, they’re in it for the long haul.” Early on, they went to Iceland, Acadia National Park in Maine, hiking in Pennsylvania, and exploring much of New England.
On September 17, 2022, surrounded by friends and family, Jonathan and Madeline were married in a joyous celebration at the Old Carter Barn in Tunkhannock, PA and later celebrated their honeymoon in Singapore and Bali, places they had always wanted to visit. Jon and Maddy moved to the San Francisco area in the Summer of 2023 for Maddy to pursue graduate school and for Jon to teach and write music with students at Amabile Music School. On their cross-country move, Jon and Maddy decided to plan a road trip route which brought them to Niagara Falls, camping and hiking through the Midwest, visiting the Grand Canyon, Yellowstone National Park, and so many locations filled with laughter and the beauty of nature. Most recently, the couple enjoyed running local races together, where Jon finished a 10k and Maddy ran half-marathons.
Jonathan was always giving of himself and shared his gifts and talents with everyone he met. He loved spending time with family and close friends, he enjoyed reminiscing, joking around, and never taking himself too seriously. His strengths were numerous and he always took the time to fight for justice and defend people and situations that were important to him.
Jonathan leaves behind his wife, Madeline Belknap. Jon’s immediate family includes his father, Brian Kirby (partner Debbie Amato), his three sisters Krissy Pierno (husband Chris, son Vinny), Carrie Reilly (husband David Reilly, daughter expected March 2024), and Ellie Kirby. Jonathan is predeceased by an infant brother, Timothy James Kirby. Other family members on the Kirby side who are mourning his loss include: Jonathan’s grandmother, Pauline Kirby of Wrentham, MA, Uncles Mike Kirby and Dan Kirby, Aunts Pat Kirby and Carol Kirby and 5 other Kirby cousins. On his maternal side, Jonathan leaves behind his mother, Melodie (Travis) Kirby, his Aunt Melissa Travis, Uncle Herbert Travis, and 1 cousin.
Visitation for Jonathan will be held on Friday, December 8th at Sperry & McHoul Funeral Home, 15 Grove Street, North Attleboro, MA from 4 to 7 PM. A Mass of Christian Burial will be celebrated in his honor by the Reverend David A. Costa on Saturday, December 9th at Sacred Heart Church, 58 Church Street, North Attleboro, MA. (Additional overflow parking is available at the Woodcock building, 6 Morse Lane, North Attleboro). Relatives and friends are most kindly invited to attend and celebrate Jonathan's life. Interment will be held privately at a later date.
In Lieu of flowers, two memorial funds have been established. To honor Jon’s legacy, Madeline is establishing an endowed scholarship at his beloved musical theater program, Imagination Stage in Bethesda, Maryland . Contributions toward the endowment may be made here: https://gofund.me/1bb02ed3
The Kirby Family have established a go fund me called Remembering Jonathan Kirby for the purpose of paying for all the funeral related expenses and to establish memorials in Jonathan’s name. https://gofund.me/285fe918