Theodore Rice "Ted" Kirklin, age 78, of Kalamazoo, MI died at home, surrounded by his family, on the afternoon of Friday, March 31, 2017, after several years' tenacious struggle with dementia and Parkinson's Disease. He was born on February 12, 1939, the second son of Chester Dale and Ruth (Rice) Kirklin of Galesburg. He attended Galesburg Public Schools, but left in tenth grade to begin farming full time. He was raising a small herd of Hereford cattle in 1962, when he entered the U.S. Army, and he spent four years as a medic in active and active reserve service. After honorable discharge from the army, he continued farming, and in 1973 he purchased his own farm where he raised grain crops, some pigs, and a few cattle. He eventually came to farm about 1,000 acres and was widely respected in the agricultural community as a skillful and successful farmer and businessman, and as a man of exceptional integrity. In the 1980s, at the suggestion of his five-year-old daughter, he began growing vegetables for sale at a roadside stand, and he became famous on East ML Avenue and at the Kalamazoo Farmers' Market for his sweet corn and melons. He served on the Kalamazoo County Fair Board from 1968-77 and, as president, oversaw the fundraising to build the new show arena at the fairgrounds. Ted was a lifelong member of Farm Bureau and served two years on its state Policy-Development committee. He also served six years on the farmers' advisory committee to the Agricultural Stabilization and Conservation Service. In 1990, he was named Conservation Farmer of the Year by the Kalamazoo Soil Conservation District. When Ted was not looking after his farm, he enjoyed traveling the world. During his time in the military, he caught a ride on a military plane to Hawaii, and once drove to Guatemala with his brother, Raymond, in a rusty old Jeep. His extensive travels with his wife, Pat, included trips to Mexico, Belize, Costa Rica, Italy, France, Spain, Andorra, Borneo, Malaysia, Thailand, Argentina, Chile, and Peru. Ted was preceded in death by his parents and his brother, Derald. He is survived by his wife of 27 years and fellow-horticulturist, Patricia Smith; his daughter Julia (Gavin) Kentch of Anchorage, AK; two granddaughters, Bridget and Audrey; brothers James, Raymond (Suzanne), and Stephen (Paula); sisters Mary (Budd) Remer, Rose Bauckham, Linda Hamil, and Molly (Gary) Cole; many nieces and nephews and their children; and his protege Nick Chapin. A memorial will be celebrated at the family farm this summer. Memorial contributions may be directed to Hospice Care of Southwest Michigan. Arrangements were made by the Langeland Family Funeral Homes, 622 S. Burdick St.