William & Mary

Message on the passing of Jim Kirkley

Provost Michael Halleran sent the following message to the campus community on Sept. 27, 2011 - Ed.

It is with great sadness that I inform you that Dr. Jim Kirkley, Professor of Marine Science, passed away September 22 after a courageous two and a half year battle with lung cancer.

Jim received his B.S., M.S., and Ph.D. from the University of Maryland, and worked as a fisheries economist with the National Marine Fisheries Service before coming to VIMS in 1987.  Jim started out in the Marine Advisory Service Program and later moved into the department of Coastal and Ocean Policy, which he chaired from 2001 to 2005. 

Jim was an excellent mentor and was a major advisor for 3 Ph.D. and 7 M.S. students and served as a member on many graduate student committees.  Dr. Kirkley’s research was broadly focused on fisheries economics, and his contributions included studies of the sea scallop fishery, methods to define and measure capacity in fisheries, the economic impact of Pfiesteria, economic valuations of Virginia’s marine commercial and recreational fisheries, and most recently, a study of the economic importance and value of the menhaden in the Chesapeake Bay Region. 

Over the course of his career he produced more than 75 peer-review publications, co-authored a book, and produced many reports and technical manuals.  Dr. Kirkley had extensive advisory service responsibilities including service to the Virginia Marine Resource Commission, the fishery management councils, the National Marine Fisheries Service, and the Food and Agricultural Organization of the United Nations.  In 2005 Dr. Kirkley received the prestigious National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration’s Environmental Hero Award.

Jim is survived by his wife, Kathy, three daughters, Kelley, Kara, and Krista, one son, Jamie and four grandchildren, Dylan, Zach, Kylie and Kingston.

A celebration of life will begin at 6:00 p.m. on Wednesday, September 28 at Riverwalk, the Landing at Yorktown.

Memorial donations may be made to the American Cancer Society, marked specifically to aid Lung Cancer Research, c/o Ms. G. Edward Mowry, 7274 Joseph Lewis Road, Hayes, VA  23072; and to the Food Bank of St. Therese Church, 6262 Main Street, Gloucester, VA  23061.