A key figure in the transformation of Long Island City from the gritty industrial area it was to the nation’s fastest-growing neighborhood has died.
Andrew Louis Kirby, 61, passed away from a heart attack last month while vacationing with his family, having spent his last days in a place he loved, the Kirby family camp in the Adirondacks.
Kirby served on the board of directors of the Long Island City Partnership and as president of Plaxall, the family-owned real estate and plastics manufacturing business that has been a part of Long Island City for more than 70 years.
“Andrew was a tremendous force both in our family and at Plaxall,” the Kirby family said in a statement. “He was a loving and beloved son, grandson, husband, father, uncle, cousin, boss, colleague and friend. He will be sorely missed.”
Born Aug. 6, 1958, the son of William and Ann Pfohl Kirby, he grew up with his large family in Forest Hills Gardens. Kirby attended Phillips Exeter Academy, Duke University and Harvard Law School.
Over the course of his professional career, Kirby was a corporate lawyer at Shearman and Sterling, in-house counsel and director of acquisitions for Cadbury Schweppes, and founder and president of SodaMate. In addition to serving on the board at the Long Island City Partnership, Kirby also sat on the boards of the Jacob A. Riis Neighborhood Settlement and the Queens Museum.
“It was a shock to everyone when he passed,” former Long Island City Partnership President Gary Kesner said. “He was deeply committed to the long-term advancement of Long Island City and always trying to do what is best for that neighborhood.”
Kirby is survived by his wife of 36 years Nancy Trettis Kirby, son Duncan Kirby, daughter Johanna Allen and mother Ann Kirby. Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, a memorial service for Kirby will be held at a later date.
Donations in his name can be made to the Jacob A. Riis Neighborhood Settlement.