Kirby Attwell ’54
June 1, 1935 - July 6, 2021

Memorial Service to be held in September
Tau brother Kirby Attwell passed away on July 6 at his home in Houston at age 86.
He died peacefully in the company of his beloved family, including his golden retriever, Zia. 

A Rhodes scholar who held an MBA from Harvard Business School, Kirby had a long and successful career in business and finance.

"Kirby was liked and respected by everyone he met," said Vance Minter '54, one of the Tau alums known as "the 203 West 19th Street Boys of the 50s" -- a group that has remained close since their college days at UT. "Kirby excelled at everything he did, but he succeeded quietly, shying away from fame or recognition,"

As a Kappa Sig active at UT Austin, Kirby served as Tau Chapter Grand Master. He was also captain of the Longhorn varsity golf team, winning the Southwest Conference championship and, remarkably, never losing a match in his three years of playing UT golf, defeating several competitors who went on to play professional tours.

Coached by the legendary Harvey Penick, Kirby was a subject of two of his best-selling golf classics, The Little Red Book (The Grip) and The Little Blue Book (Advising Kirby). "Harvey coached and loved Tom Kite and Ben Crenshaw," said Minter, "but he had just as much regard for Kirby." Minter noted that when Kirby graduated in 1957, he sought Penick's advice on playing professional golf, which didn't offer the financial rewards that it does today. Penick advised Kirby that he would do much better in the business world, given his bright mind for finance. "His respect for Harvey was so great that he took his advice and never looked back," added Minter.

"Kirby -- known as 'Putwell' to us Sigs -- would do anything for his friends," said Dick Kilday '54, who, along with Vance Minter and Larry Sikes '54, golfed in a foursome with Kirby for many years. "One of Harvey Penick's books is titled And if You Play Golf, You're My Friend, " added Kilday. "Likewise, if you were a Kappa Sig, you were Kirby's friend."

Kirby was preceded in death by his wife, Nancy, and is survived by his son, Kirby Andrew, and daughter, Meredith. 

A special thanks to Mac Thompson '54 for reaching out to his Tau brothers to gather memories of happy times they shared with Kirby. Knowing his friend well, Mac requested that this tribute be "light, not gloomy."