Kirk Rau

Obituary of Kirk Stephen Rau

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Kirk Stephen Rau, 71, of Soddy Daisy, TN was beamed up by Scottie on Thursday July 27th while in Radium Hot Springs on a cross country road trip with his best friend and wife of 50 years, Lynn. He was living his best life and was blessed to soak in some beautiful scenery of Gods natural creations that day.


Kirk had an infectious laugh and an unforgettable personality that would liven up any room he walked into. He made it one of his goals in life to make people laugh and to show others how to have a good time.


He was uniquely and unapologetically himself, and he had a true zest for life and spreading happiness. He had a very deep side to him, yet he also knew when to not take things too seriously and joke about things.


He was easily remembered by every person he crossed paths with due to his endless dad jokes, easy-going approach to life, and surplus of stories. He was the definition of a true storyteller, and he would instantly show photos to avid listeners to supplement all of his life stories.


He loved his family dearly, and they were his main focus. He enjoyed spending time with them and making meaningful memories because he knew that life experiences were more precious than any possessions he could give. He gave his time to his family and friends, helping without them even asking. He had a service heart and loved to help anyone he could.


He also loved all of his pets like they were his bonus children. He had many happy pets in life, and he was their favorite human. His pets are rejoicing by covering him with puppy kisses and wagging their tails at the sight of him again.


He had a love for nature, and he loved hiking and the outdoors. In fact, he and his wife spent several months in their younger years backpacking half of the Appalachian Trail. In his retirement years, he also spent many months traveling with her to view beautiful natural sights around North America. Yellowstone was one of his favorites, and he felt most connected to his higher power while in nature. He instilled the same love for hiking and nature into his children and grandchildren as they spent many days of hiking, camping, and fishing together.


One of his first jobs was working on The Bear Project in The Smoky Mountains in his 20s. He was in his true element during his time on the project, being submerged in nature and with animals. He loved sharing stories from his time in The Smokies and had an entire room in his home dedicated to the bears he came to love.


He loved teaching and spreading knowledge, and spent many years as a teacher for local school systems in California, Georgia, and Tennessee. He was frequently  requested by students to be their driving instructor while he worked at Hamans New Drivers, as the students loved his personality and hearing his stories on their drives. He had a way of teaching that kept his students engaged and made him unforgettable.


He retired as a dental technician at Affordable Dentures and enjoyed listening to Sunny 92.3 while he worked. His coworkers remember him as the funny music guy.


He loved music and always wanted to have music playing. He shared his love of music with his family, friends, and coworkers. In fact, he listened to the radio so often that he won several call-in contests and would often win things like tickets to Riverbend, Lake Winnie, and other concerts.


He passed on his love of music to his children and grandchildren, providing them with a wide array of musical tastes. He shared his love for bands like The Beatles, The Moody Blues, Simon & Garfunkel, The Beach Boys, and Cat Stevens with his children at early ages while they traveled. Some of the fondest memories his children and grandchildren have are of his Kirk renditions to famous songs like "Show me the meat that’s in bologna. " (a Backstreet Boys rendition of Show Me The Meaning of Being Lonely)


He leaves with his family an endless supply of Kirk jokes and stories that made them all laugh. Many were particularly engrained into his children and grandchildren as repeated over time, though he always seemed to come up with new ones to sprinkle in at the most opportune times.


He will be dearly missed by all that were blessed to know him. To him, they do not say goodbye forever, but goodbye for now. He had a true handle and understanding on what is important in life that some people search for their entire lives and have trouble finding. He was the only one like him.


 "You’ve got to make your little corner of the universe the best place it can be." -Dad


Kirk is survived by hisloving wife of 50 years, Lynn Hensley Rau; daughter, Heidi Rau; son, Stephen Rau; grandchildren, Layla Laurel and Louis; sisters, Terrie and Nicole Rau; mother, Corinne Tyne Rau; sisters-in-law, Ann Hensley Sarrafzadeh (Adel), Mary Hensley Baker (Bob), Libby Hensley Branch (Billy), Laura Hensley Snyder (Brad); and a host of nieces and nephews.


He was predeceased by his father, George Hans Rau.


A Celebration of Life will take place at Greenway Farms Conference Center located at 5051 Gann Store Rd, Hixson, TN on Sunday, August 20th. The family will receive visitors starting at 12PM with service commencing at 1PM.


In lieu of flowers, donations in Kirks honor can be made to Friends of the Smokies by visiting

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