RIP, Kirwan – we’re lucky to have known you
I'm writing once again to your column voicing my feelings regarding the funeral of a dear friend who passed away on October 7, 2018. The funeral took place last Saturday at the Salvation Army Citadel on North Street, Pembroke.
Kirwan would be described as a Hamilton street person by most who didn't know him, but to others such as myself, he was a dear friend. Not once did I see Kirwan drunk from liquor or any other substance. He was his own special person with character.
My friend was Kirwan Howard Phillip Brangman. Sunrise: December 5, 1939. Sunset: October 7, 2018.
What a service to remember. Not a great number of people but many of those in attendance got up and spoke on his behalf with stories that resulted in smiles, laughter and some were even reduced to tears, including me.
For me, the stories voiced by the officers and staff of the Salvation Army Citadel blew me out of the water with how Kirwan conducted his daily routine. Solving the big and small issues that came his way, usually with prayer, then off he would go greeting his friends along the streets of Hamilton.
Kirwan was also deeply religious. He could quote several scripture readings without a Bible, he loved to sing and preach as well. His voice is what people will remember mostly about him; it was extremely powerful and loud. You knew you were in his presence.
One of his strongest attributes was his ability to connect with youngsters, especially the schoolchildren of Dellwood Middle School located across from the Salvation Army Citadel.
During the service we heard a teacher from Dellwood describe how Kirwan would always interact with the young students. The importance of learning, getting ahead in life, to always listen to your teachers, your parents, to hold Jesus Christ in their hearts in prayer. Not only did Kirwan reach the children, but the teachers as well.
He would always have a quick chat and a laugh. They loved him.
When told of his passing, the children were so sad. She expressed to all during the service that Kirwan would be deeply missed at Dellwood Middle School. He will, for sure, be a big miss on the streets of Hamilton and beyond.
Many could give you a most descriptive story about Kirwan. Again, it would be somewhat laughable with many truths of life told to the fullest like only Kirwan Brangman could. He was a very happy and positive individual, laced with some appreciative comedy.
I could write quite a few more paragraphs on this very special man, but I'm sure he wouldn't want me to overextend myself on his behalf.
If only more people could live by his example: take each day as it is given, be thankful for the small things in life, believe in yourself and also our Maker above. He would say his education was limited. He did the best he could and he did just that!
May Kirwan's family embrace all the fond memories of their brother, father, uncle in the months that lie ahead. May a feeling of love embrace all hearts that were lucky to have been in his life. He is in mine; I shall never forget him.
God bless him. For all Kirwan Brangman stood for.
H. GORDY GIBBONS