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Grieving family discovers a community that cares

For years, Shawn and Cindy Kirby bought animals from the Nevada County Fair to support children who were raising livestock.

The community returned their help with love and generosity after Shawn Kirby lost his eight-month battle with cancer Friday morning.

Later in the day, Bart Riebe, owner of Riebe’s Auto Parts and a neighbor of the Kirby family, bought an iron table from 17-year-old Max Kirby, the Kirbys’ eldest son, for $3,300 at the Ag Mechanics Auction at the fair.



On Sunday, Max and his two siblings, 15-year-old Bailey and 10-year-old Keaton, sold three hogs that together fetched $132 per pound at the livestock auction ” much higher than the usual going rate.

“I won’t be able to repay anyone for what they have done,” Cindy Kirby said Monday. “Because of them, I was able to stay with him and take care of him. If it weren’t for them, I don’t think he would make it as long as he did.”




Cindy reminisced how friends took turns to be with her children while she and her husband were in Reno for her husband’s treatment.

“Word got out that we didn’t have a place to stay in Reno,” Cindy said. “Then one of the grandparents of my children’s friends, who had a house in Reno, opened their doors to us.”

Shawn’s generosity and love for his family were some of the qualities that endeared him to friends, Cindy said.

The couple had been childhood sweethearts and graduated the same year from Nevada Union High School. They were married since 1987.

“Shawn raised his children exactly the way children should be raised,” said Terri Klauer, a friend of the Kirbys. “Each one of the kids is so polite. How can you not help such a family in need?

“Cindy has been a pillar of strength at Shawn’s side continuously. It makes you want to do anything you can to help them,” Klauer said.

To contact Soumitro Sen, e-mail ssen@theunion.com or call 477-4229.


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