Sean Christopher Kirk

Durango resident Sean Christopher Kirk died Wednesday, Aug. 1, 2012. He died in a car accident, family said. He was 46.

Mr. Kirk was born to Loren and Alice Kirk on April 5, 1966, in Denver. The family moved to Silverton before settling in Durango, where Mr. Kirk graduated from Durango High School.

On November 30, 1991, he married Kathy Lynne Wegher, also of Durango. The couple met while working at Lori’s Family Dining.

Mr. Kirk was a decorated member of the U.S. Marine Corps, serving for 20 years after enlisting in May 1988. He held numerous ranks, and he retired in May 2008 as a gunnery sergeant.

During the 1990s and 2000s, Mr. Kirk participated in support of multiple overseas missions, including Iraq, Haiti, Kosovo and Afghanistan. He also served as detachment commander for the U.S. Embassy in Seoul, South Korea. He received a Purple Heart in 2005 for wounds sustained in combat in Ramadi, Iraq. In total, Mr. Kirk accumulated eleven different medals and ribbons during his military career. He was also respected as a mentor and friend to younger Marines.

While still on active duty in 2008, Mr. Kirk received a bachelor’s degree in international relations from American Military University. He was enrolled in a master’s program at the time of his death.

After his retirement, Mr. Kirk returned to Durango, and he worked most recently as a brakeman for the Durango & Silverton Narrow Gauge Railroad.

Relatives described him as “giving and affectionate with everyone he met.”

Mr. Kirk is survived by his wife of 21 years, Kathy Kirk; sister Theresa Sutton of Artesia, N.M.; and numerous extended family with whom he was close.

Visitation will be held from 6 to 8 p.m. Friday, Aug. 10, 2012, at Hood Mortuary in Durango. A memorial service follow at 10 a.m. Saturday, Aug. 11, 2012, at St. Columba Catholic Church in Durango. Burial, with full military honors, will take place at Greenmount Cemetery.