Capt. Kirk  Hornburg
Our beloved, Capt. Kirk Hornburg, United States Navy, age 56, was taken from us too early on Jan. 11, 2020 in Saudi Arabia. After three years of working abroad, while making preparations to return home permanently to his wife and family in Traverse City, he suffered a sudden and massive heart attack.
Kirk was born Nov. 30, 1963 in Hilton, New York. After graduating from Hilton High School in 1981 he was accepted into the Naval ROTC program at the University of Michigan. He graduated in 1986 with degrees in German, history and economics, along with a newfound passion for U of M football. More significantly, as a sophomore he found the love of his life, Linda, introducing himself in the cafeteria of Markley dorm on a dare.
Kirk was commissioned into the United States Navy upon graduation in May 1986 as a Surface Warfare Officer and was assigned to the USS John A Moore out of Long Beach, California. Kirk and Linda were secretly married Oct. 16, 1987, days before Kirk's ship was deployed into combat in the Persian Gulf for six months.
On Dec. 30, 1988 Kirk and Linda were married in front of family and friends in Detroit. Kirk was later stationed in Stuttgart, Germany, for four years, where together with Linda, he witnessed firsthand the end of the Cold War and the reunification of Germany, ski raced for the United States Military Ski Team and earned a master's degree in international relations from Boston University.
In 1993 Kirk was stationed in Riga, Latvia, as part of a military liaison team tasked with aiding the newly independent nation. He and Linda, working in the U.S. Embassy, enjoyed this time as one of their greatest adventures together. Between military meetings over home-brewed vodka, harassing hung-over Russian officers sleeping in their trucks and "accidentally" snapping pictures of a Soviet nuclear submarine base (the photos were never returned by the U.S. intelligence officer ...) there was never a dull moment. Getting to work alongside Linda, they helped to coordinate the visit of President Clinton, with Kirk ultimately helping to write the speech delivered during that first visit by a U.S. president to the freshly sovereign nation.
The adventures continued when Kirk was later stationed in England, where his first son, Kalvis, was born in 1995. To be able to spend more time with his young family, Kirk transferred to the Navy Reserves and moved back to Michigan. He earned yet another degree, this time a law degree from Wayne State University in Detroit. Nineteen-ninety-seven brought more joy with the birth of his son, Lars, a national championship for his Wolverines and a Stanley Cup for the Red Wings. After briefly working as a lawyer in Detroit, he felt the draw of the lake and of beautiful northern Michigan and took a job as the executive director of MTEC in Traverse City.
Two years after celebrating the birth of his favorite daughter, Kaija in 2002, he was recalled into the Navy and worked overseas at U.S. European Command and at the Naval Operations Center in the Pentagon for two years. He continued to work as a civilian and Naval Reserve Officer in Washington, D.C. until 2016, commuting back to his home in Traverse City. He retired from the Navy after 30 years of service in June 2016, having achieved the rank of Captain. In September 2016 he went to work as a consultant in Saudi Arabia with Booz Allen Hamilton.
Kirk's wife and children were his greatest joy. He loved to ski and passed on this love to his kids, who have all been Alpine racers. He was a certified Alpine coach and official, coached whenever he could, spent countless hours waxing skis and volunteered at nearly every race. In addition, he assisted in coaching his kids' soccer teams, and his passion was always evident from the sidelines. He also loved swimming, hiking, canoeing, snorkeling, biking, camping, doing triathlons and basically enjoying the outdoors in every way possible. He felt happiest and most at peace swimming in Lake Michigan at nearby Haserot Beach. He had an intense zest for life, loved to cook and enjoy good food, write poetry, and was a voracious reader. His curiosity, fantastic intelligence and near constant booming laughter were appreciated by all he met.
His final moments were spent on FaceTime with his very beloved wife, Linda, while in loving banter about his imminent return to the U.S. and his reunion with her and his adored daughter, Kaija, after many years abroad.
We'll miss his immensely entertaining and diverse stories, positive attitude, unflappable humor, gregariousness, eloquence and most of all, his heartfelt bear hugs.
He is survived by loving wife, Linda; children Kalvis, Lars and Kaija; and in-laws.
A funeral service honoring Kirk's life will take place at 3 p.m. on Saturday, Jan. 25, 2020 at the Reynolds-Jonkhoff Funeral Home. Visitation begins at 2 p.m. and will continue until time of service. Kirk will be laid to rest in Arlington National Cemetery at a later date. Kirk's service will be broadcasted live at www.rjfh.tv for anyone that would like to watch the service where internet is available.
In lieu of flowers, the family asks that memorial contributions be directed to 22 Until None, 18402 N 19th Ave., Box 370, Phoenix, AZ 85023; or to Hornburg Children's Education Fund, c/o Linda Vitins, 305 Sixth St., Traverse City, MI 49684.
Please share a memory with Kirk's family by visiting his tribute page at www.reynolds-jonkhoff.com.
The Reynolds-Jonkhoff Funeral Home and Cremation Services is serving the family.
Published on January 23, 2020

Events

Plant a tree in memory
of Capt. Kirk
Plant a tree

Obituary published in

Guestbook

Print Guestbook

A place to share condolences and memories.
The guestbook expires on April 21, 2020.

Showing 10 of 11 posts

TBAYS - North Storm Staff, Coaches and Board Members
Jan 30, 2020
Medium Dish Garden was purchased for the family of Capt. Kirk Hornburg by TBAYS - North Storm Staff, Coaches and Board Members.  Send flowers
Rick & Geri Mason
Jan 28, 2020
Kirk, you will never be forgotten here because the legacy you left behind is your precious wife and three beautiful young adults.
We were new to Traverse City and moved here to watch our oldest grandson go thru high school -and enjoy sharing the ups and downs of raising a family with our daughter and her family. Your oldest son kalvas was one of the gifts of life that some miss- I can still see his smile and how he took my grandson under “his wing” showing him how to play, work and enjoy the game of soccer. That was your spirit Kurt. I never said Thank you- Thank You. Your families support and love thru the next 4 years was constant and true. Senior year - had you stretching
..., encouraging and mentoring young men to lead. I thank God for people like you when ever I meet them- thank you Kurt and thank you Linda, Kalvis, Lars and Kaija for sharing your Dad! Till we all meet again- Cheers -to a life well lived and shared- thank you
& God bless you Linda, Kalvis, Lars and Kaija! I expect amazing things out of you three children.
God’s Love
Read more
The Madions
Jan 24, 2020
Dear Hornburg skiers-
Your dad brought tremendous positive energy, enthusiasm and a warm smile to every high school ski race. We are so grateful.
Vesna and Bob Bain
Jan 24, 2020
This is a picture of the first time we met Kirk. It was at Kalvis and Corinne’s graduation picnic. After the festivities we all met at the Sheraton Commander for drinks to get to know each other better and celebrate our children and their accomplishments. I remember we were all together and Kirk started telling stories. One by one people stopped their conversations and gravitated over to listen to what Kirk had to say. I remember thinking he is one charismatic, gregarious, full of life soul!! I also remember that big BEAR hug. Not everyone knows how to give a hug like that! His presence was large and will be missed by all who knew him. PROST to Kirk and his life and the wonderful, beautif...ul family he left behind!Read more
The Whiting Family
Jan 23, 2020
Dear Hornburg Family,

We are so very saddened by Kirk's death. Our deepest sympathy to you all.

There is no doubt, his family was the most important thing in his life, evident in his stories of adventures you shared together.

I treasure time spent with you all on the ski hill, starting at Hickory Hills when Molly & Lars where in elementary school, Kirk helping me get my little ones up the tow rope....to high school and USSA weekend racing. Always encouraging, and kind towards others. It was fun being in his presence. Kirk never complained about the cold, or being tired or sore, he was on the hill or mountain all day, helping the kids to be their very best self. He lead by example, his
... laugh was contagious and he made people feel good about themselves. " Captain Kirk " was respected and admired by us all.

Our hearts hurt for your tremendous loss. We are grateful to have known Kirk, and will cherish the memories. Praying for your strength and courage to face each day without your beloved husband and father. May God's promise of eternal life bring you comfort.

With Love ~

The Whiting Family
Read more
The Whiting Family
Jan 23, 2020
Dear Hornburg Family,

We are so very saddened by Kirk's death. Our deepest sympathy to you all.

There is no doubt, his family was the most important thing in his life, evident in his stories of adventures you shared together.

I treasure time spent with you all on the ski hill, starting at Hickory Hills when Molly & Lars where in elementary school, Kirk helping me get my little ones up the tow rope....to high school and USSA weekend racing. Always encouraging, and kind towards others. It was fun being in his presence. Kirk never complained about the cold, or being tired or sore, he was on the hill or mountain all day, helping the kids to be their very best self. He lead by example, his
... laugh was contagious and he made people feel good about themselves. " Captain Kirk " was respected and admired by us all.

Our hearts hurt for your tremendous loss. We are grateful to have known Kirk, and will cherish the memories. Praying for your strength and courage to face each day without your beloved husband and father. May God's promise of eternal life bring you comfort.

With Love ~

The Whiting Family
Read more
Del Toro Family
Jan 23, 2020
A New Sunrise Spray was purchased for the family of Capt. Kirk Hornburg by Del Toro Family.  Send flowers
Marlene & Jake Wamhoff
Jan 23, 2020
We are so sorry to hear of Kirk's passing. He was a loved man by his entire family. To you, Linda , Kalvis, Lars, & Kaija our deepest sympathy. Our prayers are for you in this time of great sorrow.
Julie Gentile
Jan 23, 2020
Kalvis and Family, I offer my deepest condolences. I remember meeting your dad, Kalvis, at Harvard and thinking how much you reminded me of him. He was a very warm and gregarious person. Very caring. It is these traits he passed on to you and you will put to good use as a physician. Please know you and your family are in my thoughts and prayers. May you find strength in the hard days ahead. Know you are loved and cared for and never hesitate to ask for help or a hug.
Tribute Store
Jan 23, 2020
America the Beautiful was purchased for the family of Capt. Kirk Hornburg by Tribute Store.  Send flowers
Irene Ghobrial and Team
Jan 23, 2020
Dreams From the Heart Bouquet was purchased for the family of Capt. Kirk Hornburg by Irene Ghobrial and Team.  Send flowers