Mary Beth Kirkland of Hatteras Village , July 2

By on July 4, 2019

On the morning of July 2, 2019, in the words of her favorite poet, Billy Collins, Mary Beth Kirkland of Hatteras Village “became a shape of air” (mind you, a distinctive shape of air.) She was 91.

Mary Beth, a native of South Carolina, taught first grade in Florida, Georgia, South Carolina, and for many years in the Kanawha County Schools in Charleston, West Virginia, where she retired from teaching.

After vacationing each fall in Hatteras Village starting in 1994, Mary Beth came to live by the sea in the Village in October 2011 for what she had planned to be an eight-month adventure after the death of her husband, Bill Kirkland. She never left, falling in love with the people and the very special sense of community in Hatteras.

Some of Mary Beth’s favorite things were books, coffee, dogs, Mentos candy, poetry (especially the poems of Billy Collins), gardening, coffee, her friends, (did we mention coffee?), and the ocean.

Mary Beth leaves behind her beloved daughters, Jennifer Kirkland of Staunton, Virginia, and Laurie Kirkland Ziegler and husband John Ziegler of Williamsburg, Virginia, who are also Hatteras lovers and who are very grateful to the special people of Hatteras Village for making these last years the happiest years of Mary Beth’s life. She also leaves behind dear nieces and nephews and their children, long-time friends from Charleston, West Virginia, and her wonderful, adopted Hatteras Village and Island friends.

In lieu of flowers, Mary Beth asked that donations be made in her memory to the Graveyard of the Atlantic Museum [59200 Museum Drive, Hatteras, NC 27943] and the Hatteras Library [57709 NC-12, Hatteras, NC 27943]. Her daughters will host a get together for family and friends in late October in Hatteras Village, details to be announced.

“The smallest sprout shows there is really no death,
And if there was it led forward life, and does not wait at the end to arrest it,
And ceased the moment life appeared.

All goes onward and outward, nothing collapses,
And to die is different from what anyone supposed, and luckier.”

– Walt Whitman

Twiford Funeral Home is assisting the family with arrangements. Condolences and memories can be shared at

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