Joe Kirven passed away on July 5th, 2021 at the age of 90. He graduated from Booker T Washington High School and earned an athletic scholarship in football and track from Wiley College where he graduated with a Bachelors in Science. After college, Kirven started his own business with only $500. He built ABCO Maintenance Company into a million-dollar company, acquired J & S Chemical, and acquired real estate investments.
He was the youngest president of the Dallas Black Chamber of Commerce and was appointed to the Dallas City Council and ran for the Dallas School Board. He served as a Special Assistant to Governor William Clements, a groundbreaking appointment where he steered black candidates to appointments on Texas state commissions. He liaised between the Governor’s office and Texas Southern, Prairie View A&M University, and all Texas HBCUs. He worked on minority business issues with two US Presidents. In 1968, The Texas Chamber of Commerce named him as one of “Five Outstanding Young Texans,” and in 1972 Ebony magazine named him as one of the Outstanding Businessmen of the Southwest.
He was a trustee and deacon of the St John Missionary Baptist Church and involved in many civic activities. He was the first Black member of the Board of Trustees for the Hockaday School in Dallas and a member of the Board of Regents of the University of North Texas. He was most proud of his endowed scholarship at Wiley College. He was also a member of the Alpha Phi Alpha Fraternity, Incorporated. Devoted to his family and friends, Kirven helped countless people obtain jobs. He was a true pioneer and inspiration to all. He is preceded in death by his parents Lafayette Kirven and Derutha Kirven and siblings Lafayette Kirven, Jr., Howard Kirven, (sister-in-law) Mary Lou Kirven, sisters Alverine Taylor, Helen Waurine Spencer, and Jessie Mae Johnson. Joe Kirven is survived by his wife Gloria Kirven of 63 years, his daughter Josette Valtierra, her husband Gregory Valtierra III, and his grandsons, Gregory Valtierra IV, Michael Valtierra, and many friends and relatives. He will be missed by all. Services will be held July 24, 2021, 2PM at Laurel Land Funeral Home. Visitation will be on July 23, 2021 from 4 PM to 8PM at the same location.
Masks are strongly encouraged by the family.
Donations in lieu of flowers may be made to Wiley College for the Joe Kirven Scholarship Fund. Please make checks payable to Wiley College and note the Scholarship Fund in the memo (Mail to: Wiley College, Office of Institutional Advancement, 711 Wi- ley Ave., Marshall, Texas, 75670) or contribute digitally via https://www. wileyc.edu/donate in memoriam to Joe Kirven.