Susie Kirk wrote on her Facebook page late Wednesday night that she’s in shock and punctuated the statement with six exclamation points. But really, no words can describe the untold pain that Kirk, who played on the LPGA as Susie Redman, and her family have felt in the past 72 hours.
Monday evening, the Georgia State Patrol reported that Kirk’s oldest son, John Redman, 23, lost control of his 2008 Lexus on Interstate 85 in Meriwether County and drove onto the highway median, hitting a concrete bridge support, according to the Dalton Daily Citizen. Redman’s fiancee, Brittany Huber, died at the scene.
The couple were en route to their wedding this weekend in Mobile, Ala.
“Our hearts are breaking for the family,” former LPGA player Dawn Coe-Jones said. “This young man was heading into a beautiful new chapter in his life, and to have it end tragically with his fiancee’s death, you can’t put into words what the family must be going through.”
Redman, an assistant basketball coach at Dalton State, an NAIA school about 90 miles north of Atlanta, is in a drug-induced sleep at Grady Memorial Hospital in Atlanta while doctors try to relieve pressure from his brain, according to the school’s website. Derek Waugh, Dalton State’s athletic director, said in a statement Wednesday that a CT scan showed Redman’s condition had not worsened. Waugh also disclosed that Redman sustained several fractures, including a skull fracture, but has the use of his limbs.
Kirk, 48, raised three boys while playing in more than 400 LPGA events in a 24-year career. She gave birth to her fourth son, Jay Marshall Brooker, in 2007, as her career was winding down. John was one of the first boys enrolled in LPGA daycare and acted like a big brother to many of the children on tour.
“John was just that kid that everybody at daycare could count on,” said Coe-Jones, whose son Jimmy was the same age as Kirk’s second-youngest, Jesse. “A lot of times (Susie) would have three boys on the road by herself.”
Nancy Scranton’s twins are only 9 years old, but she talked to Coe-Jones about the worry that comes with a child getting a driver’s license when Jimmy turned 16. Myra Blackwelder’s daughter, Mallory, makes her living on the road playing the Symetra Tour, and mom likes to receive a text from Mallory each time she reaches a destination.
John’s father, Bo, was caddieing for Myra when he met Susie. With Mallory, who volunteered at daycare as a kid and once took care of John, set to marry on Ryder Cup weekend this September, the tragic accident hit especially close to home.
“I can’t get it off my mind,” Myra said.
Kirk, who is married to Kevin Kirk and teaches with him at The Woodlands in Texas, was a popular player on the LPGA who nearly always wore a smile. The 6-foot-tall natural athlete was a top-ranked junior and became a rookie on tour in 1985 at age 19.
This mother of four is no stranger to fear. When Jesse was only 5 months old, LPGA daycare had him rushed to a hospital during the Oldsmobile Classic in East Lansing, Mich., where he was diagnosed with neuroblastoma, a childhood cancer.
Months later Jesse wasn’t responding to chemotherapy, and it was at the Rail Classic that fall that the mayor of Peoria, Ill., and the tournament director put Kirk in touch with St. Jude’s Children’s Research Hospital in Memphis, Tenn., where, as Kirk said, they saved Jesse.
Years later she’s in another hospital praying for yet another miracle while mourning the loss of 25-year-old Huber, a kindergarten paraprofessional at City Park Elementary School in Dalton.
John joined the staff at Dalton last July after spending three years as a student-assistant at Spring Hill College in Mobile, where he met Brittany. He had played basketball and run cross country and track for the school.
“. . . I do not think I can handle this terrible pain for Brittany’s family and for John,” Kirk wrote on her Facebook page. “It was Brittany and John. It was John and Brittany. End of story. They were TEAM REDMAN every day! I miss my daughter in law and John’s wife. I am so sorry Brittany. I love you and miss you!”
The Dalton Daily Citizen reported that Huber’s visitation and funeral will take place Friday at Spring Hill Baptist Church in Mobile, Ala.
The couple were to be married there this weekend.