In Loving Memory: Kirk Robert Sand

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Kirk Robert Sand of Laguna Beach passed away peacefully on March 17, 2024 at the age of 71. His family is deeply saddened to share the news of his passing with those who knew and loved him.

Kirk Sand was born on March 13, 1953, in Springfield, Ill., to parents Donald Robert Sand and Martha Jane Stormont Sand, who predeceased his passing in 2007 and 2011, respectively.

Upon graduating from Springfield High School in 1971, Kirk left Springfield and headed West, relocating to Fullerton, California. An accomplished guitar player, Kirk began working at Fender Musical Instruments, kickstarting his 57-year successful career as a Luthier and builder of fine custom handmade guitars in Laguna Beach.

In 1974, Kirk purchased his first business, the Guitar Shoppe, in Laguna Beach with his partner of 48 years, Jim Matthews, who passed away in 2022. The Guitar Shoppe continues to enjoy its fabulous reputation internationally and locally as one of the finest guitar-based music stores. It is appealing and personable to world-class guitarists and guitar players of all styles and skill levels, including new students.

Self-taught and extremely focused, Kirk craftsmanship evolved into his own brand of custom handmade Kirk Sand Guitars. His first “celebrity” guitar was made for Jose Feliciano. When Kirk met the famed guitarist Chet Atkins in Nashville in the late 1980s, he began creating the innovative Chet Atkins Signature Model guitar. That changed everything!

Kirk made nearly 800 custom handmade guitars, including those played and endorsed by Chet Atkins, Jose Feliciano, Jerry Reed, John Knowles, Paul Yandell, Doyle Dykes, Earl Klugh, Lenny Breau, Richie Sambora, Lauren Hill, Steve Wariner, Tommy Emmanuel and Richard Smith.

In 1984, Kirk met talented musician Beth Haskins. They married and had two beautiful children, Natalie Sand King of Seattle, Wash. and Donny Sand of Rancho Santa Margarita, Calif.

Most of all, Kirk loved his adoring family. He was overjoyed at becoming a grandfather of seven young grandchildren. Natalie and her husband, Dowel King, have a newborn son, Ronan King. Donny Sand is married to Donna Sand with five daughters Kailee, Zoey, Quinn, Skylar, Robyn and a son, Luke Sand.

Kirk was always ready for fun and laughter with his many friends, who would often stop by the Guitar Shoppe, sometimes just to enjoy his good humor and generous spirit, which touched everyone who knew him.

It is certain that Kirk would wish for his family and friends to all gather together for an uplifting and rousing send-off to celebrate the accomplishments, joy and happiness that he had found in his life.

In remembrance, his children Donny and Natalie warmly invite family and friends of Kirk Sand to join in a memorial to a life well-lived and share in celebration at The Ranch at Laguna Beach on Friday, May 10, from 3 p.m. to 6 p.m., located at 31106 South Coast Highway, Laguna Beach, Calif., 92651.

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