Adelia (Houston) Kirk

Adelia (Houston) Kirk, one of the rare indigenous fruits of Brownwood, passed away on Saturday, Aug. 8, 2020. Funeral services will be held Saturday, Aug. 15, 2020 at 12 p.m. at Victory Life Church located at 901 C.C. Woodson. Burial will follow at Greenleaf Cemetery.

Visitation will be held Friday 6-8 p.m. at Greater Faith Community Church located at 417 Wesley St. in Brownwood.

As a descendent of the Harris family, one of the three original African American families in Brown County, Adelia’s roots in Brownwood run deep. Her family has lived in and served Brown County for eight generations!

Born June 14, 1950, in Brownwood, Adelia “Sis” Kirk is the youngest child of Bennie Will Houston Sr. and Marjorie Allen Houston. Growing up with four older brothers, her siblings affectionately called her “Sis.” She kept this nickname throughout her life among her family and the community.

Most of Adelia’s education occurred in Brownwood. She graduated from Brownwood High School in the Class of 1968. Adelia also attended Howard Payne University, where she met her husband Rev. Ernest Toot Kirk.

On March 14, 1975, Adelia and Ernest married. They moved to Houston for a brief period while Ernest played football for the Houston Oilers. Adelia was the model “football wife,” cooking meals for her husband’s teammates. Frequently, the football team would beat Ernest to his house to eat Adelia’s good cooking! In the late 1970’s, Adelia and Ernest moved back to Brownwood, where they had two sons — Ernest Todd Kirk in 1977 and Elliot Thurston Kirk in 1980.

Professionally, Adelia worked in several capacities. She was the first African American woman to work at 3M during the early 1980s. She also worked as the secretary at Small World Child Development Center.

After burying her father in 1987, Adelia became interested in mortuary services. Moving forward on her ambition, Adelia attended Dallas Institute of Funeral Service. After graduating in 1989, Adelia began a life-long career in the death care industry. For many years, she served as a staff member of the Gregory W. Spencer and Sons Funeral Directors in Fort Worth, Texas.

In 2005, Adelia and her family started Kirk Family Funeral Homes, Inc. Its first location was in the Baker-Kirk Mortuary in Coleman, Texas. Over the years the business continued to grow, creating several locations: in 2008, Dove Funeral Home in Abilene; in 2010, Brownwood Funeral Home; in 2018, North’s Funeral Home in Abilene and the Big Country Crematory LLC. Over the years, Adelia has assisted hundreds, if not thousands, of families across the state of Texas.

A warm-hearted person who believed in helping others, Adelia always provided a personal space for love and comfort. In fact, her home was a safe haven for many children as well as adults in the community. Never locking her doors, her home remained open to anyone in need. It was often said, if you left the Kirk home hungry, it was your “own fault.”

In 1996, Adelia and Ernest began fostering children. Over the years, they fostered over 150 young men and two young ladies. One of the children they embraced as their own, Kevon Johnson.

In the tradition of her family, Adelia served her community. She operated in multiple capacities: board member of Central Texas Council of Government; member, Rotary International; candidate, Brownwood City Council in 2000; President and board member, R.F. Hardin Museum, Inc.; member, United Neighbors Involved to Improve (UNITI); member, City of Brownwood Library Board; and member, Mt. Moriah Baptist Church, where her husband currently serves as Pastor. Adelia has also received numerous awards from the Girls Scouts.

Adelia’s sons Todd and Elliott attended Prairie View A&M University, where both received a BS in Engineering. The sons later attended Dallas Insitute of Funeral Services and, subsequently, helped to establish the family business. Notably, Todd and Elliot are directing the services for their mother, confirming to her that they will continue her legacy.

Adelia is preceded in death by her father and mother; brothers: Bennie Will Houston, Jr., Allen Perry Houston, Cecil Hunter Houston; sister: Clara Gray; and granddaughter: Keziah Johnson.

Adelia was married to her husband for 44 years until her death. She is survived by her husband, Rev. Ernest Kirk of Brownwood; sons: Ernest Todd Kirk (Lauren) of Brownwood, Elliot Kirk (Brittiany) of Abilene, Kevon Johnson (Sarah) of Brownwood; grandson Elijah Thurston Kirk; brother: Melvin Louis Houston (Georgia) of Lubbock; sisters-in-law: Bethenia Houston (Bennie, Jr.) of Oklahoma City, Paula Houston (Allen) of Dallas, Loretta Houston (Cecil) of Atlanta, and a host of loving nieces and nephews. Online condolences may be made at

Posted online on August 12, 2020