Kirke Johnson 



I am grieved beyond words to tell you that Kirke Johnson was killed tonight in a collision with a semi-truck that turned into Kirke's path as he entered the intersection of Cornell and Barnes Road.

I will keep you informed as I learn more about what Kirke's family may need from us.

Leslie



-- 

Leslie Riester

Associate Vice President

Technology Solution Services

 

lriester@pcc.edu

 

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38 Comments

  1. I worked with Kirke since 2010.  

    I wish I would have gotten to know him better...

    He was an amazingly technological guy with great patience and took time to explain things in detail to me whenever I needed his help.    

    My heart goes out to his friends and family.  

    .

     

     

  2. Anonymous

    Kirke explained his systems to me with amazing patience and good humor. He had a wealth of stories about the history of PCC and his adventures on that wild bike. Kirke was an inspiration. My thoughts are with his family.

  3. Kirke was a very gracious interested person. We would talk bicycle travel stories, and his enthusiasm was positively strong and lasting. He and his Scout pack volunteered staffing aid stations in my Portland area triathlons that I directed in the early 1990s. His keen interest in those races, as well as his guidance to those scouts was wonderful. 

    I will always fondly remember Kirke for all these and much more. Always.

  4. I am so so sad and angry to hear this. What a truly passionate cyclist Kirke was. This should not have happened. We need safer bicycle lanes with dividers between vehicles and bicycles. My heart goes out to his family and close colleagues. What a tragic loss. And how unfair!

  5. I work in the same office as Kirke and I was always amazed by his stamina and will-power to ride to work every morning on his cool "banana" bike- rain or shine. He was such an inspiration to bicyclists and wanna-be bicyclists like myself at PCC. It breaks my heart that he is gone. My thoughts are with his family.  

  6. Anonymous

    I join Kirke's friends and colleagues at PCC who feel deep grief in learning that Kirke died today in a biking accident. Kirke was a man engaged in life and committed to living his to the fullest. He was a kind man. His passing is a great loss to our community.

  7. Anonymous

    Kirke was always there if you had a problem with mail. I remember when he got his recumbent bike as I had also just gotten one and we talked about how much fun they were to ride. He will be missed for sue

  8. Kirke was my cycling mentor, and I am heartbroken today. Five years ago, when I developed a medical condition that limited my ability to ride an upright bike, Kirke encouraged me to ride a recumbent bike, which I've done ever since, almost every day. Kirke gave me inspiration to ride my recumbent bike across Oregon, from Portland to Ashland. It was one of the greatest experiences of my life.

    At Kirke's retirement ceremony, I told him, "You never know where your influence in life begins and ends." Kirke had a quiet and positive influence on me, and obviously many others. I will keep riding, in his memory. And yes, we need safer roads and better drivers. This never should have happened. We can and MUST do better.

    1. Anonymous

      I still think about Kirke every time I get on my bike, and other times as well.  

  9. Anonymous

    I am shocked and saddened by the news. Kirke was one of my mentors when I started my IT career at PCC in 1996. He helped me through a lot of system upgrades for the library. Always patient and professional. And yes, he loved to talk about his bike rides! He is already missed!

    Emy Loanzon

  10. Anonymous

    I was very sad to hear this news. Although, I didn't know Kirke personally, I work and bike to the college on a regular basis. My thoughts are with his friends and family. 

  11. Kirke rode through my Oak Hills neighborhood just about every day.  I always got a kick seeing him cruise along rain or shine.  On days like yesterday, he would have had a bright yellow bike cover and should have been highly visible.  This is a tragic loss and so very sad for everyone involved. My heart goes out to his family and to everyone in TSS.  

    As someone who bike commutes close to where Kirke was killed, I know the area well. Not all roads have bike lanes and those that do are on busy roads. Improved bike lanes and the addition of off-street bike paths are desperately needed. 

  12. I'll miss bumping into Kirke and that recumbent. He was always decked out in the cycling gear, sporting his big white towel, getting ready for the commute home, focused on getting that thing going up to speed. We did a story on his commuting in 2007. He was a joy to interview, soft spoken but very knowledgable and passionate about what he was doing. Prayers go out to his family.

  13. Anonymous

    I worked in TSS (then ITS) for a couple of years right across from Kirke's office door. We got to know each other. a bit over those years. I was and am still amazed at his intellectual curiosity, his gentle sweet nature and his commitment to all weather bike riding all the year round.and to PCC. Our email gatemaster...I am just so shocked and saddened. Life can be ironic and cruel. I will keep him and his family in my thoughts. Blessings, Kirke. Rest easy now.

  14. I  am very saddened by this news. I worked with since 2007. I administrator systems where kirke's applications were running. He was kind person and  very patient and always try to find a solution  instead blaming somebody else when something didn't worked. My thoughts are with his family.

  15. Kirke was the epitome of gentle. Very thoughtful about solving problems and very kind. I've worked with him on  several projects and foolishly tried to compete against him in the Bike Commute Challenge several years ago. You could call him hardcore (about cycling), but it's a label that doesn't fit that well with his personality. Our thoughts are with your family, coworkers and friends.

  16. How can this happen is what I ask myself? I bet he couldn't give up his morning ride, was on his way home from a great morning 30 miler out to North Plains and back and just a mile or so from home.  It makes no sense. How could the truck driven not seen him?  

  17. Kirke was my guide as I acquired my recumbent bike when injury prevented me from continuing to ride an upright.  I ended up with the same brand as his. Among other things, we met with the city together to talk about bicycle access to the college.  I always enjoyed hearing about his latest trip and was looking forward to hearing about his first cross-country retirement trip.

    He was a man of strength and perseverance.  He was a model for me on how to proceed with grace and courage into the future.  He will be missed. BentRider Recumbent Club

     

  18. Such a tragic loss for our community! 

    Kirke was an inspirational character....he even motivated me to attempt the 30 mile round trip commute to rock creek by bike.   He advocated by example.....dedicated to riding in almost any weather....he certainly was far more courageous than fair weather riders like me.   

    He was always there as a voice of calm n reason when i needed his help here at the college.

    Grateful for the things he taught me, i will remember him with a smile always.

    My deepest sympathy to his family and close friends.

     

  19. It was quite a shock and very sad news indeed. My thoughts and prayers go out to the family. 

    With deepest sympathy.

  20. This makes me sick!  What an awful way for him to go.  Especially since he was a passionate and devoted bicyclist.  In addition, he was a strong advocate who encouraged others to consider riding as opposed to driving to work.

    I remember seeing him once as he left the dentist office.  It was spring time and the rain was coming down thick with big fat drops.  There he was, suiting up with meticulous attention to his armor.

    Then I saw him climb on the strangest contraption I had ever seen.  Knowing he was an avid bicycle rider, I connected the dots.  There he was, riding away in the traffic with only his head poking out of what looked like a large yellow banana that served as a body canoe.  I laughed out loud in awe of his vehicle.  What a genius and practical apparatus.  Since then I saw him riding all over the place.  He impressed me with his dedication to riding his odd looking piece of fruit.   I appreciated his remarkable endurance as well as a healthy, strong and slender individual.  I cannot say my big and fat old butt would be able to endure the same.

    Thank you Kirke for all your patience with me.  You were always benevolent and had unflappable kindness with my ignorance of technological abilities.  You truly earned my esteem as an intelligent “Geek”, where I can only call myself “Nerd” and may one day aspire to a ”Geek Wanna-be."  Many people will always remember you. Genuinely Kirke, you will be missed.

  21. I knew Kirke via his administration of the often-contentious PCC Issues Discussion email list.

    He was always a calming and sensible influence, and we all would have benefited from being more open to that influence. I think we might also have benefited if he had chosen to administer the list with a firmer hand, but that wasn’t his way, and there’s probably something to learn from that as well.

    I once saw him on campus as he was preparing to climb into his banana bike, and we had an interesting technical discussion about how it all worked.

    I was really sorry to hear what happened to him. Life just sucks sometimes…

     

  22. Unknown User (william.luke)

    I just don't know what to say. This is extremely sad. A great man will be missed by many. Prayers and thoughts to his family and friends. 

  23. Anonymous

    I worked with Kirke for many years in TSS and was his manager for quite a few of them. He was always calm and sensible and I never heard him utter a bad word about anyone. His patience dealing with email issues far out-stripped my own. I was impressed by his dedication to bike riding and awed by the marathon rides he completed in every kind of weather. I’m saddened that he left us so tragically and didn’t get to enjoy the retirement he earned with his long years of service to PCC.

    David Pelinka

  24. I worked with Kirke for over nine years, and he was one of the kindest, most decent human beings I have ever known. Words fail me.

  25. Anonymous

    Truly disheartening news. I've conversed with Kirke via email many times over the years on a wide range of subjects. A very gentle yet dedicated soul. I stand with a great crowd of people in sorrow at our tragic loss.

    Terry Coughran

  26. I could not calm down when I heard it's Kirke as a bicyclist in the accident! Kirke was a kind and gentle man to work with. When we had email undelivered issues on the web server, Kirke always helped check log files and provided solid analysis data for us to troubleshoot. From time to time, when I met Kirke in the TLC to warm lunch, I had enjoyed chatting with him. Kirke was so sweet and would like to share lots of bikes, trips, and even recent surgery stories. At his retirement party last month, I hugged him. I would like to hug him more. Kirke will be truly missed.

    My heart and thoughts are with his family and friends.

  27. I apologize for the length of this message, because it holds less import than the briefer postings from others who were closer to Kirke than I. And I don't have it in me to edit it down right now.

    I was only Kirke's manager for the last couple months of his career, and only had a handful of substantive conversations with him before then in the decade we worked in the same building. But each of those conversations enriched me with his wisdom and upright character. I won't speak here of his quiet incisiveness and leadership on job-related matters, because as we can see from so many other commentaries, he gave so much more of himself than that, just by being himself on campus and off.

    For many it was bicycling that made him their inspiration and mentor, for all of us it was also his courage and openness on matters of fighting for and sustaining health and well-being in mind, body and spirit. Above all, for me, though, it was the casual reassurance and sage advice he sometimes dispensed to me as a fellow homeschooling parent, an arena in which he and his wife and children were true pioneers in this state, without whose struggles those of us who have been trodding along the smooth and even pathways they broke out of the wilderness, on that way less traveled, could not have ventured forth so easily.

    There are many, many people at PCC and elsewhere who were closer to Kirke than I have ever been. In truth I feel I barely knew him, and yet I am shaken by this news. So I cannot imagine the sense of loss those hundreds or more of you who knew him so much better must feel right now. For my part, I can only say of my connection to him that he was an admired co-worker, a friendly acquaintance, and an inspirational icon. I've been hesitant to post here, because I know that I have walked past so many others in the halls today to whom he was all that, and so much more, and that their silence holds so much more meaning than anything I have it in me to express about his worth and goodness.

    Of his sudden passing, like countless others, I am sure, who have clicked the link to this memorial page today that Max has so thoughtfully started for us, I have been struggling all day to find any words at all.

    But when I read the many descriptions above, of him riding on his wonderful banana bike, and think how at his retirement party I had the feeling he had another thirty years of life in him at least, it does occur to me, for what it's worth, why it feels so especially wrong to me that he is gone, only days after his seventieth birthday, because I realize that it's the same sense of injustice that I felt many years ago when I found out that a friend from high school had died suddenly not long after our twentieth reunion. I feel now about Kirke what I felt then, that nobody should ever, ever die so young, when they had so much more to see and share and give.

  28. I am so saddened by this news and extend my deepest sympathy to Kirke's family, friends, and colleagues. Kirke made an impression on me during our first conversation. I was so inspired by his gentle bike commute warrior spirit and his advocacy for better biking conditions. The irony of his death is simply too much. 

  29. Rest in peace, dear Kirke.  I've enjoyed watching Kirke commute on his bicycle and hearing of his family's backpacking adventures.  I missed your retirement party and didn't get to say good-bye.  I can't believe he is gone.  Sending warm thoughts and support to his family.

  30. Anonymous

    I live in the neighborhood where this accident happened. I would see him every day I was out. He was out no matter what the weather as. He always had his yellow recumbent bike. So sad , he was an every day fixture in cedar mill,

     

     

  31. Unknown User (vanessa.golding)

    I live blocks away from where this happened, and I used to see him ride. I also use that bike lane and this has left me stunned and heart sick. My deepest condolences to his family, friends and those whose lives he clearly touched. 

  32. Anonymous

    Kirke and I first met when PCC was starting its fledging Employee Wellness Program, Heaven Can Wait, in the late 1980's. His love for his family and his excitement for working at PCC were clear from our earliest conversations. The employee wellness program has come and gone, but Kirke's love for his family and service to PCC  was constant. As his interest in bicycyling picked up and as the years passed, bicycling was a frequent topic of conversation. As others have mentioned, he was kind, patient, and a thoughtful person. I am saddened to hear of this loss. My deepest condolences to his family,  Susanne Christopher

  33. This announcement brought complete shock, and sadness to my day. My heart and prayers go out to Cathy and the children, as they cope with the sudden loss of a beloved Husband, Dad and Grandpa. Kirke was so excited at his retirement party to detail the history of his love for cycling, and relay plans for future bike adventures. We will miss him. I send prayers of peace and strengthening to his family during this most difficult of times.

  34. Anonymous

    The passing of such a dear man at this time is saddening. I hope that his family and friends will be able to support each other and take the time to grieve the loss. He was and is an inspiration.

  35. Anonymous

    For me Kirke was an important "go-to" guy at PCC in the early days of email and listservs. Careful, cordial, and consistently available during the many crises that technology brings to us all. Our paths crossed only briefly and seldom after my own retirement, but it was special to talk with him when we did meet.  I also knew him and his family through a PCC Toastmasters Club back in the days when Ross Island was one of our Centers. He was a gentleman in the finest, old-fashioned sense.  His love and pride in the accomplishments of his family also stand out in my memories of him. My heart-felt sympathy to his family and friends.  – Berniece Owen

  36. Anonymous

    Kirke came in and out of my life at PCC based on what new IT innovation was ruining my day. I always hoped I would get Kirke when I called the help desk because his sympathetic ear and calm approach made the problem go away and my blood pressure to moderate. He represented the best of the high quality human resources that PCC has fostered. My thoughts and best wishes go to his family.

    John Sneed

  37. Our offices were next to each other for several years. We shared many stories about work, family, and adventures. I can still see Kirke dressed in the Boy Scout uniform he wore with pride as a scout leader. He was the first in line to participate in PCC intramural and activities. He especially love the Turkey Trot.  A lot of time has passed since we shared office spaces but when we chatted he still asked about my family. I have fond memories of Kirke and will miss him. My sincere condolences to the Johnson family. 

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