Dr. Levi S. Kirkland, Sr. of 901 Jacobs Road Greenville, SC passed away unexpectedly in Bowie, MD while visiting his daughter, Gail A. Kirkland-Briscoe, DDS, and her family on Friday, June 19, 2020, at the blessed age of 93.
Born in Westville, SC on September 13, 1926, Dr. Kirkland, aka “LS”, was the third born of the four children of the late Grover and Estelle Kirkland. After graduating from Mather Academy in Camden, SC, Dr. Kirkland matriculated to Morehouse College in Atlanta, GA where he received his Bachelor of Science degree in Biology. While at Morehouse College, his life experiences grew from being drafted into the Navy during the Korean War, pledging Omega Psi Phi Fraternity, and enjoying a friendship with his classmate, Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. After graduation, Dr. Kirkland continued his education in Washington, DC at Howard University where he received his Masters of Science degree in Biology. Dr. Kirkland earned his medical degree from Meharry Medical College in Nashville, TN in 1954. Following an internship at Jersey City Medical Center, Dr. Kirkland’s surgery residency training was at Tuskegee Veterans Administration Hospital in Tuskegee, Alabama.
On March 26, 1955, Dr. Kirkland married Mary Lula Pratt and to this union was born two children, Levi Singleton, Jr. and Gail Alicia. The Kirkland family moved to Greenville, SC in 1961. Shortly thereafter, familial faith was strengthened by joining Springﬁeld Baptist Church. Dr. Kirkland was a faithful and supportive member and was installed as a trustee in 1975.
Dr. Kirkland’s involvement in religious, professional, and civic activities brought him immense pleasure and fulﬁllment. He was not just a member but a signiﬁcant contributor and leader in many organizations. From Springﬁeld Baptist Church, Dr. Kirkland received both the Brotherhood Award for Dedicated Service to the Church and the Community and the Black Heritage Award in Medicine. Also, Dr. Kirkland was awarded the Greenville Black Image Award from the Tree of Life Education and Missionary Baptist Church.
Dr. Kirkland was a trailblazer as he was the ﬁrst African American surgeon in Greenville, SC. He played an instrumental role in integrating the Greenville Health System. Due to his professionalism and service, Dr. Kirkland was the recipient of the Honors Living Legend Award from the NAACP, the Meharry Medical College President’s Award for 25 years of Service to Mankind, and the Trailblazer Award for many years of medical services to the citizens of Greenville and surrounding counties. The Palmetto Medical, Dental, and Pharmaceutical Association also issued a public acknowledgment to Dr. Kirkland for 40 Plus Years of Loyal Service to humanity. Being a man of the Mu Pi Chapter of Omega Psi Phi Fraternity and Sigma Pi Phi Fraternity, Dr. Kirkland had a great understanding of public service and loyalty to the community. He received the Mu Phi Chapter of Omega Psi Phi Fraternity Lifetime Achievement Award and was the Henry M. Minton Fellow Awardee of the Boule Foundation for his generous support of its aims and programs. Most recently, in 2017, Dr. Kirkland was honored to receive the Oath of the Palmetto. This honor is granted by the governor and is the state’s highest civilian honor awarded to citizens of South Carolina for extraordinary lifetime services and achievements of national or statewide signiﬁcance.
The sixty-ﬁve year blessed union of LS and Mary Lou ended with Mary Lou preceding him in death 2 1/2 months ago. The memories of Dr. Kirkland are treasured and his death mourned by his son, Levi S. Kirkland, Jr., MD and his wife, Roselyn Lampkins, MD of Ballwin, MO, and his daughter, Gail A. Kirkland-Briscoe, DDS and her husband, Charles A. Briscoe, Jr. of Bowie, MD. Dr. Kirkland is also survived by ﬁve grandchildren—Alana, Levi III, Alicia, Cole, and Charles III. Many nieces, nephews, and wonderful friends loved Dr. Kirkland dearly.
A Special Thank You to Drewcella Young Williams, James Donald, Monquella Cheeks, and Patsy Robinson for wonderful friendship and care.
Funeral services will be private at this time due to the ongoing pandemic; however, a joint celebration of the lives of Dr. and Mrs. Levi S. Kirkland, Sr. will be forthcoming.