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The best I remember I started my association with Kirby in early 2009, when he began writing material for JPFO. Back then he was mostly writing directly for JPFO's founder Aaron Zelman, then we would liaise over the phone with regard to aspects of site layout as well as making final checks. During the period up until Aaron's passing in December 2010, we communicated on an intermittent basis but also found time to talk about things in general, finding that we shared a lot in common.
After Aaron passed there was a need to re-organize JPFO and Kirby came into the team more formally such that we began a much more involved working relationship. Within this we also developed a 'long distance' friendship, after all, he lived in Oregon and I live in Pennsylvania, but we worked around the three hour time difference and began to spend much more time on the phone. This developed to such an extent that it was routine to be talking every day and sometimes many times the same day.
Kirby also began a liaison in early 2011 with Rabbi Dovid Bendory, who is our Rabbinic Director, and who had himself worked with Aaron - mostly notably with the production of "The Ten Commandments of Self Defense" and JPFO's last film "No Guns for Jews". A system developed whereby material Kirby wrote would be read by Rabbi and then if need be, edited into final shape before his approval. After that Kirby and I would work on the presentation aspect discussing the finer points of how he wished it to appear, followed by what we called "on-the-fly" checks and changes while on the phone, with the new page on our development area for both to see.
Over late Spring and into Summer of 2011, I was working on a re-design of the JPFO site and as that developed, Kirby's input on many facets of appearance came into play, testing and evaluating, until we launched the new look site around mid summer. Following that we continued with daily discussions on site work and further articles.
The friendship I developed with Kirby was in retrospect sometimes what might be called jokingly "combative'! Both he and I had strong opinions on presentation as well as on occasion the finer points of grammatical construct, and many was the time we would engage in quite heated debate. This however was not so much adversarial as simply "good buddies" blowing off steam at each other. It was a very effective working relationship and one I shall miss terribly.
Katherine, Kirby's partner of 12 years to whom we offer deepest condolences, told me how over time he had written some eight screenplays. None of these ever unfortunately saw the light of day and recognition they deserved. However, with his penchant for writing, it came as no surprise to learn that his work for JPFO had rekindled that passion and gave him considerable satisfaction, incorporating as it did his strong protective feelings towards our Second Amendment.
Our loss of Kirby leaves a definite vacuum, and while we are always told "no one is irreplaceable", all I can say is, we will not find another Kirby - he was too unique. We only meet just a few people in life with whom we form some sort of bond, even if as in this case one at a long distance - and it is these we remember with a special affection and also regard as one of life's blessings. Of course JPFO will carry on and we will still endeavor to provide the material needed in the ongoing fight to protect the Second Amendment and the entire Bill of Rights. To those who may not be familiar with all Kirby's writings, browse through our archive of his articles and honor his memory by reading his prodigious work.
Kirby Ferris, born June 18 1949, died June 13th 2012. R.I.P. my friend.
Read Rabbi Bendory's own tribute to Kirby
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