Obituary of Spokane man killed in New York train crash - Spokane, North Idaho News & Weather KHQ.com

Obituary of Spokane man killed in New York train crash

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Robert Michael Dirks, a resident of Chappaqua, New York died on February 3, 2015 in a commuter train tragedy in Valhalla, New York.  He was 36 years old. Robert Michael Dirks, a resident of Chappaqua, New York died on February 3, 2015 in a commuter train tragedy in Valhalla, New York. He was 36 years old.
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Robert Michael Dirks, who graduated from Lewis and Clark High School in 1996 as the class valedictorian, died earlier this month in a train crash in New York. 

Investigators say the commuter train Dirks was on crashed into an SUV on the train tracks, killing the driver of the SUV and five passengers on the train, including Dirks. 

Robert Dirks was working as a scientist at D.E. Shaw Research in Manhattan, but in 1995 he was valedictorian at Lewis and Clark High School. He later received a Ph.D. in chemistry from the California Institute of Technology.

The Harlem line was the train Dirks always took home.

Dirks' obituary was published earlier this week, and we wanted to share it for those who knew him here in the Spokane area: 

Robert Michael Dirks, a resident of Chappaqua, New York died on February 3, 2015 in a commuter train tragedy in Valhalla, New York. He was 36 years old.

Dr. Dirks worked as a research scientist for D. E. Shaw Research in New York, New York. He joined the company in 2006 and was developing new computational chemistry methods.

Robert was born on May 29, 1978 in Bangkok, Thailand to Michael and Suree Dirks. He grew up in Spokane, Washington and was valedictorian of his class at Lewis and Clark High School in 1996. He earned an A.B. in chemistry and mathematics from Wabash College,summa cum laude in 2000, and in 2005, he completed his Ph.D. in chemistry at the California Institute of Technology.

Dr. Dirks moved to New York City in 2006 and married Christine Terumi Ueda on October 13, 2007. He and his family moved to Westchester, New York in 2010.

Robert will be remembered for his intelligence, generosity, resilience, outstanding work ethic, and a deep love for his family. He encouraged his son's passion for art and sports, and took great joy in reading bedtime stories to his daughter.

He is survived by his wife Christine and two children, Owen and Phoebe; parents Mike and Suree Dirks of Spokane, Washington; and brother William Dirks of Portland, Oregon.

The funeral will be held at Cassidy-Flynn Funeral Home in Mount Kisco, New York on March 1, 2015 at 11am. Because family was a priority to Robert, his friends have set up a fund to help the family with their various needs. In lieu of flowers, friends and family may send memorial donations via https://www.youcaring.com/robertdirks.


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