William J. Kirwin, after retiring from the Department of English Language and Literature in 1984, continued his collaboration with G.M. Story in Newfoundland language and supervision of graduate students.
He assisted in planning a research unit to maintain the various collections in the English Department and in establishing the English Language Research Centre, formally approved in May, 1986. At the first meeting of the language caucus, he was elected chairman of the Centre.
He co-edited the Dictionary of Newfoundland English, 2nd ed. (1990), Reminiscences of James P. Howley: Selected Years (with Patrick A. O'Flaherty) (1997), E.R. Seary's Family Names of the Island of Newfoundland, Corrected Edition (1998), Seary's Place Names of the Northern Peninsula, a New Edition (with Robert Hollett) (2000), and has written on the history of Newfoundland English, L'Anse aux Meadows, pronunciation keys in dictionaries, and Michael F. Howley's toponymy. He was named Professor Emeritus in 1987.
He continued working on the Dictionary, serving as the Director of the ELRC and editor of RLS, until he became ill in 2013. He died in August 2015.