Kirby Lee Thompson

1956 - 2023

Kirby Lee Thompson, 67, of Lewisville, North Carolina passed away on September 4, 2023, after a lengthy illness. Kirby was born February 2, 1956, in Welch, West Virginia. He was the son of James Vance “Jimmie” Thompson and Rita Virginia Cook Thompson. He spent most of his life in Pineville and relocated to North Carolina in 2014 to be near his nieces.

Growing up, Kirby was surrounded by family. Grandparents, aunts, uncles, and cousins were always nearby. He was one of only two male cousins and enjoyed trips to the farm in Greenbrier County and fishing there.

As a teenager, Kirby suffered a spinal cord injury from a motorcycle accident which left him paralyzed below his waist. After many months of rehabilitation, Kirby returned home to graduate from Pineville High School in 1974, where he received a standing ovation.

Kirby never let his disability hinder him in any way. He lived an independent and productive life, doing almost everything for himself. He drove, rode ATV’s, played pool, and attended concerts. Things were often difficult, but he always found a way to participate.

Kirby also worked full-time. He retired from the West Virginia Mine Safety and Health Administration in 2009 after 32 years of service.

Kirby liked classic rock, classic cars, and classic movies. A big television fan, he enjoyed watching college football and basketball, true crime documentaries, and the news. In North Carolina, he participated in several charity poker tournaments and was always eager to try new restaurants. He also discovered Amazon Prime, online grocery shopping, and food delivery.

Kirby was preceded in death by his parents, sister Jennifer “Jennie” Thompson Nichols, and his beloved Tomcat, Bubba. Surviving relatives include nieces Kelly Nichols Everhart and Shannon Nichols of Pfafftown, NC, and special nephew Steven Everhart of Lewisville, NC.

The family would like to thank Brenda and Gary Browning for looking after Kirby in West Virginia and John Staton for being such a good friend to him in North Carolina.

Special thanks also to Jay and the staff at Trellis Supportive Care and Village Care of King.


8 tributes for Kirby Lee Thompson

  1. Bob Hardman

    I worked with Kirby for MSHA at Pineville and Mount Hope, WV. He was a good man and also a good friend… a good friend to many people. He had a will, a determination, and a caring second to none.

    RIP Kirby,
    Bob Hardman

  2. Mike Dickerson

    I enjoyed working with Kirby for years. He was super meticulous in keeping up his lab. He could have easily collected disability and stayed home but chose to have a very productive career instead. I always admired that about him. We loved his sense of humor and it was always a pleasure to work with him.

    Mike Dickerson
    MSHA Retired

  3. Michael Martoe

    Kirby was my younger cousin, and we would run all over the mountains and streams near our West Virginia homes when we were young. After Kirby’s unfortunate trail bike accident caused him years of medical care and operations, he persevered on with courage and integrity. He was one of the bravest, kindest persons I have ever known, and will surely be missed by many. Sail on cousin, and hopefully someday, we’ll all be together again.

  4. Bob Gilley

    I grew up with Kirby. 1st grade through high school. He was tall and a little clumsy when he was younger. I always picked him as a teammate on the playground. Made a point to throw him the ball when he was close to the rim. He thanked me for it. He was always there for any of his friends. It was a big shock to all of our classmates when Kirby was paralyzed on his trail bike. A big wake up about what a cruel world this could be. I, nor any of my friends were able to comprehend his disability. All of us were praying that he would be able to walk. I’ll be happy to see him standing on the other side of the gates waiting on me!🙏🏻 Another member of 74 gone.

  5. Kathy Day

    I worked with Kirby many years in the Pineville MSHA office. He was always very precise and dedicated to his work. He was a very proud individual but could also be very stubborn at times😊. I have a lot of good memories of our time working together.

  6. Becky Cook

    I worked with Kirby 25 plus years at MSHA in both Pineville and Mt. Hope and we continued to keep in touch on occasions after he retired. He was a friend to many and his humor would always make us laugh. Kirby was very structured and his lab was top notch. I will always remember the day he came and asked me to get his retirement prepared, I was both happy and sad for him. Kirby deserved all the best! He loved his family and would always talk about his nieces that he adored and his cousins Tammy and Brenda. You were his world. Kirby will definitely be missed among our MSHA family.

  7. Tammy Jo Repass

    What a great friend Kirby was! It was an honor to know him! He was courageous and overcame many obstacles. He persevered and accomplished no matter how hard the task may have been! He was one I held the highest admiration for! He was witty, funny, intelligent, comical at times, meticulous, and just enjoyable to spend time with! There aren’t enough words to define him or thoroughly describe Kirby! He was one of a kind! Holding you close to my heart dear Kirby!

  8. Cathy Hedrick

    Kirby was a longtime friend and former coworker – we spent 15 years in the same office, then a few more in a different office before he retired. Kirby was dedicated to doing his work right, no matter what. I always admired that plus the fact that he was out in the world working when he could have taken life easier. He could be so funny and I have many fond memories of him and the years we spent working together. Rest in peace, Kirby – we miss you.


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