Joe Kilby, who passed away in March 2008 at the young age of 58, lived a full life that included success in sports and success in life. Kilby's obituary reads in part, "He was a man of strength, courage, discipline and heart. His family, students, and friends admired him for his willingness to give it his all in ANY situation."
Kilby was born on Feb. 23, 1950, in Tacoma, graduated from Lincoln High in 1968 and from the University of Puget Sound in 1973. He first taught for 3 _ years in Federal Way, and then for 27 years as a physical education teacher and coach in the Orting School District. He coached boys and girls basketball, baseball and girls slowpitch and fastpitch softball in Orting, where he also became the athletic director.
A gifted All-City high school baseball player, Kilby was drafted by major league teams on three occasions by the New York Mets in 1968 and 1969 and then by the New York Yankees after a successful year at Big Bend Community College. A pitcher and an outfielder, Kilby elected instead of signing a contract to play baseball at the University of Puget Sound so that he could get his college degree. He wanted to be a teacher and coach, and his students and player in the coming decades would be glad that he followed his heart.
Kilby started playing slowpitch softball in 1973 and he played continually until 2006, including about seven years at the senior level. The list of teams that he played for, and the accomplishments he achieved, could fill a page in this book. Among the teams that benefitted from his skills were Coach House, Schooner Pub, Puyallup Eagles, The Haven, The Heel, Jersey City, Palmer Construction, West Coast Awards, Erickson Autobody, Bergies, Electrical Installation, Ruth Realty, and Lyle's Smoke Shop. He went to nationals on numerous occasions with Puyallup Eagles, The Haven, Palmer Construction and WE Ruth.
Kilby started out his career as a shortstop, moved to third base and also starred at first base and as a knuckleball-throwing pitcher. In senior softball, he was named to two All-World teams as a player and to one as a manager. In 2003, he helped lead WE Ruth to western national, national and world championships. In all, he played on, and sometimes coached, three national and six world championship teams.