Longtime California Route 66 museum volunteer Chick Kirk dies

Chick Kirk, 87, a longtime volunteer who greeted thousands of tourists at the California Route 66 Museum in Victorville over the years, died Aug. 27.

Kirk, whose real name was Charlotte, and fellow longtime volunteer Betty Halbe worked side by side at the museum, reported the Victorville Daily Press.

Together, Chick Kirk and Halbe were known as Chickanbetty, an apt moniker considering the pair was rarely apart after meeting in the mid 1990s.

“The reason we became friends is the museum opened in November 1995 in the Halstead Building and, of course, that has since burned down,” Halbe said. “I was the greeter at the museum. We put out a flier asking for volunteers, and she showed up the next day.”

Halbe was the gift shop manager, but — describing Chick Kirk as her “partner in crime” — she said they ran it together and eventually became more personal friends outside the museum. […]

They sat on the museum’s board of directors together, with Chick Kirk serving as president three times, according to Halbe, who said the nickname was born out of their inseparability. […]

“She was humble about everything,” Halbe said. “She did a lot for the veterans. She didn’t want any accolades. She loved doing it. She loved Route 66 and her veterans. Whatever she did, she did it 150 percent.”


Kirk was there in the museum in 2011 when the History Channel shot a segment. Likewise for when longtime Southern California travel host Huell Howser showed up for filming.

Betty Halbe and Chick Kirk at the California Route 66 Museum in Victorville.

Kirk and Halbe both retired from the museum in 2015.

Kirk also volunteered her time for veterans’ causes and the Girl Scouts of America.

As for her nickname, Kirk’s father gave it to her when she was born, and it stuck.

Kirk was preceded in death her husband, Chuck, three brothers and one sister.

She is survived by three sisters. one daughter, one son, five grandchildren and five great-grandchildren.

A viewing at Desert View Funeral Home in Victorville is scheduled from 4 to 8 p.m. today. The funeral is scheduled for 10 a.m. Tuesday at the funeral home.

(Hat tip to Ken Turmel; images via Desert View Funeral Home)

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