Kirby Grant Dahman

Nov 14, 1951 – May 8, 2016

Kirby Grant Dahman obituary image 1



Kirby Grant Dahman died peacefully at home on May 8, surrounded by his wife, son and immediate family.

Beginning last fall, Kirby had suffered from a series of debilitating symptoms that were finally diagnosed as the rare Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease, just 10 days before his death.

He is survived by his loving wife of 37 years, Laurie, his son Will Grant, sister Karen Dahman, brother Ross Dahman (Nancy Laster), sister-in-law Jane Stockert (David), nieces Clare Ross(Chad), Kate Stockert (Greg Goldstein), Elizabeth Weckel, and brother-in-law, Howard Weckel.

Kirby was born on Nov 14, 1951 to Dorothy Simon and William Hruska Dahman in St Louis, MO. He graduated from John Burroughs High School and went on to The California Institute of Technology to complete a degree in Mathematics. 

While pursuing an advanced degree at the University of Illinois, Kirby met his future wife, Laurie Weckel. They were married in 1978, and relocated to Tucson, Arizona in 1980, where Kirby began his 36 year career with IBM. 

During their 24 years in Tucson, Kirby and Laurie relished desert life, becoming part of a treasured community. They were active in hiking, local politics and their church, St Philips in the Hills Episcopal Church.  In 1993, the addition of their beloved son Will made their lives complete. 

At IBM, Kirby excelled in a variety of technical leadership positions, starting as a Programmer, and ending as a Senior Technical Staff Member. In 2004 Kirby, Laurie, and Will made the move to Seattle WA, primarily to be near family. During the past twelve years in Seattle, Kirby worked from home, communicating with engineers from all parts of the globe on a daily (and nightly!) basis. He had recently accepted a position as an Architect with Cloud Managed Services, and at the time of his death he was in the application process for his 35th US Patent. He also held 74 global issued patents.

Living in Seattle allowed Kirby to indulge in his love of being on the water with many a fishing excursion in the little 15 ft fishing boat, The Osprey, taking direction from Will about where to find the elusive salmon. There were also lazy summer days watching the cruise ships head out to sea, and more recently aboard his brother in law’s boat, Incredible, on Lake Washington.

Kirby took delight in Laurie’s artwork, the accomplishments of others (especially those of his beloved Will and nieces), vacationing in the San Juan Islands, entertaining family and friends, participating in Bible Study at Church of the Ascension, attending the Pacific Northwest Ballet, viewing meaningful films, reading mathematics, and a sipping a good glass of red wine or any drink with a blue hue. He was also dedicated to supporting social justice causes, believing in the essential goodness and value of everyone.

Most of all, Kirby loved being with his family – those who were related by blood and those who became related by the heart.  His was a completely unselfish and unconditional love for all of God’s creation.

Donations may be made in Kirby’s name to The National Prion Disease Center, SHARE/WHEEL of Seattle (homeless services), or Church Council of Greater Seattle. (peace/justice advocacy)

With all kinds of opportunities to tell people what to think, he instead told them what to do. Wash feet. Give your stuff away. Share your food. Favor reprobates. Pray for those who are out to get you. Be the first to say, “I am sorry.” (Barbara Brown Taylor)


Kevin Kartchner
Tucson, AZ
Jul 6, 2016

I thoroughly enjoyed working with Kirby on various IBM projects. "Soybeans" was a trusted friend and mentor as we struggled to move things forward. Kirby, you left us way too soon. I'm still reminded of you when I wander by your former cabin on Mt. Lemmon. Be good.

Mark Smith
Chapel Hill, NC
Jun 26, 2016

To Kirby's family, I am so sorry to hear of Kirby's passing. Many of us on teams he worked on a few years ago knew he had been having health issues, but had no idea those issues were life threatening.

I miss Kirby's thoughtful evaluations and insights. I miss his calm demeanor in the midst of rising tensions. Above all, I miss his dry sense of humor injected into technical conversations at just the right time!

My best to the Dahman extended family from part of his IBM extended team!

Mark (Smith) Infrastructure Architect

Giuseppe Biagini
Tucson, AZ
May 25, 2016

Dear Laurie and Will,

Kirby and I meet at IBM-Tucson in 1985, trying to create performance modeling tools... Then we lost touch, when we went back to Italy for several years.

I am deeply saddened to hear of Kirby's passing so early. I hope we can meet again in the future and go over the happy memories that we shared together.

Giuseppe and Annamaria

Marc Goldfeder
Tucson, AZ
May 25, 2016

This is such sad news. I knew and worked with Kirby in Tucson from 1980 until I retired in 2000. Laurie designed the logo for my wife, Muriel's business - "Off the Beaten Path Tours". I will always remember the fun times we had at work and especially at lunch time in the cafeteria where we liberals would do battle with the conservatives. And I always looked forward to the annual Christmas cards with Will growing bigger each year. Kirby was a very good person and he will be missed.

Roger and Rita Weckel
Saint Joseph MI, MI
May 23, 2016

Laurie & Will

know that you are not alone in this time of sorrow. there are no words for the sadness of Kirbys untimely passing.

Uncle Roger and Aunt Rita

eileen and charlie Giffin
Tucson, az
May 19, 2016

Thanks for letting us know how to send e hugs and notes,Will without overwhelming you dears.

At a High school event this week, the choir sang the Beatles song "In my life" and so the tears came as we thought of dear KIRBY when the kids sang:"but of all these friends and lovers there is no one compares with my (our) life......I'll love you more." We cannot ever have another Kirby in our lives: his deep goodness and brilliance were uniquely his. So hard to just cherish that we were blessed to know him as we greedily hoped for decades more of enjoying his light in this world. Will....your light shines on as a reflection of him and that is his greatest legacy. With tears, love and also grateful memories, we keep you (Will and Laurie) close in mind and heart.

Ilyas Mohammed
Vancouver , WA
May 19, 2016

Dear Laurie, Will and family,

I received the news of Kirby's passing with a heavy heart. I had the pleasure of working with Kirby during past few years as Storage Architect. Even though he was much senior on the team than myself he never let me feel that.

He will be truly missed. I pray he rests in peace and whatever lies in this phase of his existence is made easy..

My condolences to the bereaved family and friends ....


Geoff Simril
Richmond, VA
May 18, 2016


We are all saddened by your loss, and our thoughts and prayers are with you and Will.

I was a High School classmate of Kirby's and shared several classes with him. I was glad he and I got to catch up at our 40th reunion. Your husband was the smartest, nicest man I have ever known.

Since we learned of Kirby's death, there has been a thread of emails among his classmates, and I would love to share that thread with you and Will. I think you'd both enjoy reading it. Please send your email address to:

Thanks and God Bless

Steen Ostenson
Aguadilla, PR
May 17, 2016

Dear Dahman Family and friends,

I am writing in honor of Kirby for several reasons and will begin by saying that the world is no doubt a poorer place for his passing out of it, but certainly not for his passing through it.

In my time as his classmate at Burroughs, I can’t say I knew him well, but was fascinated by him, and for reasons I don’t know how to explain, he has abided in my memories as one of the true ‘characters’ of my adolescence. In a word, the guy was a scream, and by that I mean he was hilarious. His humor was delightfully sly and presumed (and required) the apprehension of a wit that might at first be taken as self deprecating, but soon revealed itself to be an invitation to mutually enjoy a bit of ironic satire embedded in the moment.

His role as the Stage Manager in “Our Town” brings back memories of wondering what Mr. Arnold was thinking as he cast him, and then having the “scales fall from my eyes”, as Kirby revealed himself to indeed BE the stage manager; what a treat!

Finally, please know that since 1968 I have been carrying with me one of Kirby’s pronouncements, which I still silently recall as sort of a verbal talisman against pomposity and self-importance, and therefore, at least for me, he lives on.

Suzanne Ferris
seatttle, wa
May 17, 2016

Kirby was an extraordinary host to our artist group to which Laurie belonged, sharing his home with us, even when he had other things to do. His thoughtfulness and kindness was written across his features and this early loss to Laurie and their son Will breaks my heart.

Arturo Mojica
Tucson, AZ
May 17, 2016

I am deeply saddened by this news. I met Kirby in the early '90s and am blessed to have worked with him for many years. Above all, I remember his friendly and cheerful disposition and smile - no matter what the situation.

Kirby - my friend - my prayers are with you and your loved ones. You will always live on in my heart and memory. Blessings!


Skip Dassler
Anacortes, WA
May 17, 2016

Dear Dahman family,

I was a fellow high school student of Kirby's in St. Louis back in the sixties. While most of us were running around in a race to find ourselves, I always thought Kirby already knew who he was. He was certainly on a higher intellectual plane than I. He was so mellow but we shared some fun in German class. as we took our seats, we greeted each other with a serious nod and a "good morning Herr Guten, "good morning Herr Morgen".

Reading the obituary, it is clear that Kirby found a lifetime of good mornings with you.

Please accept my sincere condolences.

Carlos Pratt
Tucson, AZ
May 16, 2016

Dear Dahman family,

I was very lucky to meet Kirby the very first day of work in IBM.

Although my time in the same area where Kirby and I worked was short, he offered and gave me a lot of help. And as some of his friends have stated here, he was kind and always ready to give good advice.

He will be greatly missed.

Our family prayers are with you.

Carlos Pratt

John A Gravina
Tucson, AZ
May 16, 2016

Laurie & Will, I am shocked. In reading the obit. I can't believe how long you have been gone from Kingler Spring Pl. You were the best neighbors, friends we could ask for. We still talk about how courteous you were. I am looking at Will's fish tank now as I write. When you come back, it's here for you. Kirby was a wonderful person and will be sorely missed. Love, the Gravinas'

Jon Kiser
Tucson, AZ
May 16, 2016

Dear Laurie and Will,

Kirby was truly one in a million. I always thoroughly enjoyed our discussions, especially since we saw eye to eye on so many things, including politics. What an amazing mind with great flexibility and humor. He dearly loved his family and spoke often about Will as he was growing up. I'm so sorry you both have to continue without him by your side. For those of us that knew him, his illness and tragic death was like a gut punch because he was so full of life and vibrant. I wish your family well and we will miss him more than you could know. Jon Kiser

Jon Lynds
San Jose, ca
May 16, 2016

I met Kirby at IBM and was first impressed by his great way of speaking and writing. He was extremely intelligent while at the same time absolutely genuine, honest and humble. This rare combination made him a very special human being. I will always remember him this way. I'm saddened to hear of his passing. My heart goes out to his family.

Barbara and Bob Gray
Oro Valley, AZ
May 16, 2016

Godspeed, dear Kirby. Whenever I see kindness, I will know you are still at work.

Harold W Koeppel
Tucson, AZ
May 16, 2016

I worked with Kirby while he was in Tucson, providing support for his coding, before my retirement after 35 years (I started with IBM in 1980). We had what I considered a pleasant relationship.

My condolences to his family.

Janet Eto
St Louis, MO
May 16, 2016

I am saddened to hear the news of Kirby's passing. Though we didn't share any classes, I remember him as a sweet, quiet young man. He had a great smile.

My condolences go out to his family and friends.

Janet Eto

JBS, '69

Allen Goldberg
Edmond, OK
May 16, 2016

I was always honored to call Kirby 'friend'...played with him on our HS soccer team and thoroughly enjoyed our time together.....It was a treat watching such a gifted guy navigate through the tough math question and all the other 'stuff' that we mere mortals had to struggle with..he was a one of a kind. A more gentle caring guy I have never known.

My deepest condolences to his family.

Allen Goldberg

Erika Dawson
Tucson, AZ
May 16, 2016

To Kirby's Family,

It was a shock to all of us to hear about Kirby's illness and then his passing. My thoughts and prayers are with his family. I'll always remember Kirby as a very kind and gentle soul; someone you don't run across everyday. There isn't an unkind word that one thinks of when remembering Kirby. He always took things in stride when working on architecture and customer issues. He'll be missed by all that knew him.

Kevin Reardon
Riverside, CT
May 16, 2016

Dear Dahman Family, I am sorry for your loss. Kirby was a great person and an outstanding engineer. He will truly be missed by all who got to know him. I worked with him in Tucson. I really enjoyed his kindness, patience, creativity and his willingness to do whatever he could to get the job done. My prayers are with you and your family.

Ted Weckel
Salt Lake City, UT
May 16, 2016

Laurie and Will, it is always so sad to say goodbye to a loved one in mortality. But of course the separation is simply for a short time. What a blessing to have had such a rich relationship in your life. And now you have those wonderful memories to meditate upon from time to time. I will continue to pray for you in the days ahead. With love, Ted

Kimberly James
Lakeside, AZ
May 15, 2016

I am so sorry for your loss. Kirby will be truly missed. I knew Kirby in the 90s at IBM in Tucson. He was brilliant and always kind and encouraging to others. My prayers are with you and your family.

Jan Melin
Seattle, WA
May 15, 2016

Dearest Laurie and Will,

You are in our prayers. May the company of angels surround you as God continues to send His love and His peace.

Joel and Jan Melin

Gayle Sette
Tucson, AZ
May 15, 2016

I was saddened to hear of the loss of Kirby. He was always terrific to work with - so kind and helpful. My thoughts and prayers are with you at this time.

Jon Peake
Mesa, AZ
May 15, 2016

Dear Dahman Family, I am shocked and saddened by the news of Kirby's passing. I worked with Kirby for many years in Tucson and greatly enjoyed his company. His intellect and dry humor were always a great asset to the many long architectural meeting we were in.

So to 'Soybeans', may your coffee cub always be full and may you rest in peace..

Jon Peake

Esther Osborne
Seattle, WA
May 15, 2016

Today Ascension celebrated 75 years, but Kirby was not there, and he was missed. I pray for strength and healing for Laurie,Will, and the whole extended family, and that our love and support will ease your pain.

Sangram Singh
Tucson, AZ
May 15, 2016

Dear Dahman Family,

I was surprised and saddened to hear of Kirby's passing away. I worked with Kirby in the late 90s and early 2000s. Kirby was always supportive technically and emotionally of my work. I enjoyed working with him.

Craig Schultz
Tucson, AZ
May 15, 2016

Dear Laurie and Will and family,

I was a close friend of Kirby at IBM when he lived it Tucson, and there were countless times he helped me as a mentor informally in my career. I kept tabs with him when he was in Seattle, and I was deeply saddened to hear of his passing. He was truly a wonderful guy that would help anyone anytime. He will be deeply missed by many. I wish all of you my deep sympathy and best wishes in your time of healing.

Olga Yiparaki
Tucson, AZ
May 14, 2016

Dear Laurie, and Will and family,

I am deeply saddened by the news. I knew Kirby at IBM in Tucson and I got to work with him early on in my career when I joined IBM in 1999. He was definitely one of my favorite people. Kind and wise and intelligent and thoughtful, he stood out among the rest,

Sending you my best wishes and my sincere condolences,

Olga Yiparaki

Bill Ogroski
Tucson, AZ
May 13, 2016

Kirby, I was so sad to learn that your time here had been called to an end. I thank you for all the wonderful memories you created during my 35 years with IBM. You were always so wonderful to work with. I'm looking forward to the day when we can meet up once again, but right now I still have a few more miles to ride on my IBM QCC bike. Or at least I think I do. We'll see what God has to say about that! Until we meet again, my friend!

This obituary is provided by Bonney-Watson, providing caring and compassionate funeral, cremation and cemetery services since 1868. We have a professional staff, four funeral homes, two cremation facilities and one of the largest cemeteries south of Seattle, as well as a comprehensive grief support program.