June grew up on a farm near Flandreau, S.D. Her life long best friend was her sister, Helen Shannon Gjere, now of Toronto, S. D. She graduated from Flandreau High School in 1947. Later she moved to San Diego, Calif., where she worked as a secretary. It was there in 1950, that she met and married her sailor-husband, Thomas M. Kirkman. Tom was raised near Kennett, and he and June lived there in the late 1950's when Tom was a Navy recruiter. During their Navy life, they lived in Calif., Guam, Mo., Nebraska and Iowa.
In Iowa, June worked for the Federal Crop Insurance Agency (FCIA) as a secretary. After Tom's retirement June was promoted to district manager with FCIA in McCook, Nebraska and later Ogallala, Neb. After retiring, she and Tom moved to Edmond, Okla. in 1992 to be closer to their daughter and her family.
Encouraging her children to success in life, June accepted the roles of homeroom mother and scout leader. While a Girl Scout leader in the early 1960's, she led a group of teenage girls to the top of San Jacinto Mountain at an elevation of 10,831 feet during a week-long backpacking trip. For the Boy Scouts, she was a tough merit badge examiner, ensuring all the boys actually accomplished all their requirements!
June loved to play bridge with her friends and many other games with her children and their friends. She enjoyed sewing, all types of crafts, puzzles, and card games. She relished all these activities during family vacations and was appreciated for her amazing cooking abilities.
No matter where June and Tom lived they became the neighborhood grandparents and the house where all the kids could be found. Tom would put up a basketball hoop, and June would fill the garage with toys and games for the kids. Their own grandchildren fondly recall being blessed with a week of one-on-one time with their grandparents during the summer. The many activities they enjoyed included bumper cars, fishing, swimming pools, fireworks, picnics, lightning bugs, and the neighborhood children.
June was preceded in death by her parents and husband. She is survived by her daughter, Kathleen (Rick) Piper of Edmond, Okla., and sons Keith (Phyllis) Kirkman of McMinnville, Ore., and Kim Kirkman of Overland Park, Kan. She also has nine grandchildren and five great grandchildren.