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Obituary: Russell Kirts, Columbus

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Russell Kirts, age 90, passed away on October 12, 2013, at Our Hospice of South Central Indiana Inpatient Facility. He was born in Brown County, Indiana on October 3, 1923, son of Lewis Kirts and Lydia Wolfington Kirts. He graduated from Van Buren High School and joined the Army Air Corps in December, 1942. He served during World War II as an aerial gunner on a B-17 in the 96th Bombardment Squadron. He flew 22 missions in the Mediterranean Theater and was shot down in Poland. He was discharged October 5, 1945 in Santa Ana, California.

He married Retna Angeline Osborne March 2, 1946, and they have been married 67 years. He retired from Cummins in 1983 after 27 years of service. Along with his spouse, he is survived by his children, Linda Elaine Pruitt of Columbus, Randall B. Kirts and wife, Becky, of Shelbyville, Ky., and Gina L. England and husband, Roger, of Nashville. He is also survived by six grandchildren, Tonya Shewmake and husband, Chris, of Columbus;,Eric Russell Pruitt of Louisville, Ky., Jesse Moore and wife, Stacy, of Columbus, Jake Kirts and wife, Megan, of Louisville, Ky., Ashley Moore Elbert and husband, TJ, of Cicero, and Kalee Kirts Thompson and husband, Will, of Athens, Ga. He is also survived by 11 great-grandchildren, Olivia, Lydia, Elaina, Caleb, Sarah, Logan, Bryson, Thatcher, Sam, Callum and Julia.

He is survived by sisters, Grace Taylor of Greenwood, and Wilma Jean Harger of Colorado; and a younger brother, Henry, of Florida.

He was preceded in death by his parents, Lewis Kirts and Lydia Wolfington Kirts; his brothers, Melvin, Earl, Verl, and Mosier; and by his sisters, Thelma Thompson, Christine Crider and Ruth Kirts Lucas.

Visitation will be at Barkes, Weaver & Glick Funeral Home on Washington Street Thursday, October 17 from 5 to 8  p.m. and Friday, October 18 from 9:30 a.m. until service time with the funeral at 10:30 a.m. Friday with Dan Wallace officiating.

Burial will be at Garland Brook Cemetery. Full military honors will be presented by the U.S. Army Ceremonial Unit and the Bartholomew County Veterans Color Guard.

In lieu of flowers, the family asks that memorial contributions may be made to the First Christian Church Building Fund or Our Hospice of South Central Indiana.

Online condolences may be sent to the Kirts family and a video tribute may be viewed at

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