We are deeply sorry for your loss - the staff at The Dorchester Funeral Home
The staff at Dorchester Funeral Home, would like to extend our sincere condolences to the entire family of Coach Kirk Warner.
A Gentle Giant with Servant’s Heart
“People will forget what you said, People will forget what you did, but people will never forget how you made them feel.”
Some people unknowingly carry themselves in such a way that transforms the mind-body composition of the people they interact with. If you were blessed to encounter Deacon Warner, Coach Warner, Uncle Kirk or as his wife fondly refers to him, Bay, you knew you had been in the very presence of greatness. Kirk, a gentle giant who also embodied a servant’s heart, always left an indelible impression on everyone that he met. Kirk, we are better for having known you. May your presence forever linger in our hearts.
Born with gifts of size, speed, and strength, Kirk towered over other children in school. He was a respectful child who effortlessly excelled in academics as well as sports like basketball, football and track. As a high school senior, he was named the AA Basketball Player of the Year, averaging 20 points and 12 rebounds per game. He also outrivaled his opponents in track, setting several school records, two of which still stand today.
As high school quickly came to an end, Kirk received numerous scholarship offers in basketball and football. FINALLY, he received the most coveted scholarship offer from The University of Georgia and one of the most respected coaches in the nation, Coach Vince Dooley. Without hesitation, he accepted the offer to continue his education at UGA. As a Bulldog, Kirk played in 42 games with 50 receptions and an average of 14.7 yards per reception as a tight-end under Coach Ray Goff. As his college career came to a close, he entered the NFL draft signing as a free agent with the New England Patriots for a short stint.
In Athens, football wasn’t Kirk’s only love; there he met and later married the love of his life, Kimberly Franklin, and together they were blessed with three remarkable sons—Kelzey, Kameron, and Karrington. Upon gaining the title of Uncle Kirk, he quickly became everyone’s favorite uncle. He always possessed the natural ability to make every niece and nephew feel that his attention and focus was solely directed on them individually, yet no one ever felt left out or overlooked. In their eyes, Uncle Kirk or Captain Kirk was larger than life, a real-life superhero. He was the uncle that readily offered Godly wisdom for husbands and fathers. He also provided wise counsel about any of life’s most difficult topics to anyone who requested it.
Coach Warner began his coaching career as an assistant coach at Bradwell Institute. Throughout his tenure at BI, he was known for touching the lives of many young men. In 1999, he was offered and accepted a position as head basketball coach back in his hometown of Cochran, GA. Shortly thereafter, his previous school system contacted him for the position of head coach—across town at Liberty County High School. As one of the youngest and one of very few black head football coaches in Georgia, this young family man arrived in Liberty County to lead a team that had not gotten the “W” in 3 years! Coach Warner arrived to find he had no uniforms, a budget in the red, no community support, and very little chance for success. Regardless of the obstacles, he coached, he trained, he raised funds- including smoking Boston butts for team fundraisers, he hired good coaches, and he garnered community support. He often felt like giving up, but with each new year, Coach learned to depend more and more on the Lord. He went on to gain numerous accolades throughout the years such as making school history in 2006 by clinching a GHSA playoff berth for the first time. Coach Warner and his Panthers went on to defeat many of the state’s prestigious teams like LaGrange, Statesboro, Burke County, and several others. Under his exceptional leadership, his program’s reputation has been elevated to that of an elite program without question. Coach imputed a sense of accountability, leadership, and dedication in his program—evidenced by the many young men who have gone on to the highest levels of sports, business, and the military.
Though his football record is impressive, Coach Warner’s mentorship was influential to the success of the 2016 LCHS AAAA Basketball State Championship team where he served as an assistant coach for 3 years.
Kirk effortlessly managed to balance his life of Coach with that of a dedicated and energized Deacon at Emmanuel Christian Church. He was ordained as a Deacon and faithfully served for over 10 years in support of the church. He readily volunteered to support any and all ministries to include Missions ministry where he helped to pack and deliver much needed food to underprivileged families. Deacon Warner served as Ministry Head for the MORE Men, ECC’s men’s ministry. He worked tirelessly to lead the men in community involvement and inner-church functions. He was a dedicated father, a devoted husband, an outstanding cook and he courageously led his family as the prince of his house. Kirk’s timeless legacy will continue to set the bar high as he embodied all the inherent qualities of Son, Brother, Cousin, Uncle, Husband, Father, Friend, Coach and Deacon.
Preceding Kirk in death were grandparents, maternal Willie and Mildred (Gainey) Freeney, paternal Estoria Ellington and J.C. Ellington Sr., his father, Jimmy L Warner Sr., his mother-n-law Vera Gilbert and two uncles Avant ‘Pete’ Freeney and Otis Warner.
He leaves to celebrate his life and carry on his legacy, his loving wife, Kimberly (Franklin) Warner, three sons, Kelzey Amman, Kameron Alexander and Karrington Allen, a bonus son Shadrach Thornton (Mary) a devoted mother, Ms. Goldie Warner, siblings Angela Warner Dennis (Henry), Cynthia Warner Carter (Michael), Gary Warner (Lisa), Jimmy Warner (Angelia), Kathy Warner Harris, Jimmy L Warner (Chastity), Hilton Watson, a father-in-law Mr. Herchel Franklin, aunts Mrs. Pearlie Warner Taylor, Mrs. Christine Warner Morrell, Mrs. Jennie Warner Vance, Mrs. Hazel Warner Smith, Mrs. Arlene Warner Howard (Ralph), Mrs. Barbara Ellington Davis (Willie), Mrs. Ivory Dumas, Mrs. Ida Mae Porter, uncles Mr. J.C. Ellington (Marie), Bishop Charles Ellington, Mr. John Ellington (Rosena), Mr. Anthony James Ellington, a sister-in-law Sharolyn Spence (Jeffrey), two brothers-in-law Jeffrey Franklin and Minister James Gilbert (Robin), a first cousin Sheba Harris (Cory), a special friend Pamela Fife Crawford, friends Charles ‘Bugg’ Williams and John Stanley, the Williams-Hammonds-Burks Family, the Rooks-Allen Family, and a host of nieces, nephews, cousins, friends, Panther Nation and Kirk’s beloved Dawg Nation.
“Everybody can be great because anybody can serve. You don't have to have a college degree to serve. You don't have to make your subject and verb agree to serve. You only need a heart full of grace. A soul generated by love.”
~Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.