Kurt Jay Kitti, 62, passed away peacefully on Tuesday, May 14th, 2019, at his home in Traprock Valley surrounded by his family, after living with cancer for two years.
He was born February 3rd, 1957, in Laurium to Walt & Ina Kitti. A 1975 Calumet HS graduate, he spent 5 years working as a Maintenance Mechanic for Cleveland Cliffs Iron Company. He graduated from Northern Michigan University with a BS degree in Industrial Education (summa cum laude) in 1985.
Kurt married his love and best friend Kelly (Kangas) on February 12, 1993.
Kurt served for 20 years as an officer in the United States Air Force, commissioning in April 1986 and retiring as a Lt Colonel in September 2006. Highlights of his service include Distinguished Graduate of Officer Training School, two Masters of Science degrees, Deputy Program Manager: Alaska Radar System, Deputy Chief: Logistics Policy Branch for NATO at SHAPE Belgium, squadron commands for Logistics Support and Maintenance, Deputy Chief: Innovation & Technology Division, and the joy of traveling the world with his family.
Following retirement, Kurt became a consultant to the Deputy Assistant Secretary of the Army for Science and Technology. He transitioned to the federal government as a U.S. Army civilian working in the Program Executive Office for Enterprise Information Systems, serving as the Chief of Policy Reporting and Cost Analysis Division.
Kurt “retired” to his home in Traprock in March 2015. He enjoyed an active life, always exercising body and mind. A lifelong learner and passionate about the sciences, he enrolled at Michigan Technological University where he studied Sports and Fitness Management and Psychology. Kurt relished spending time with his family. Hiking, mountain biking, xc skiing, swimming in Traprock and beach time on Lake Superior were among his cherished pastimes with those he loved. Always the optimist, he thrived on motivating and encouraging others. He radiated energy and enthusiasm; was a teacher, leader, and inspiration to many. Kurt had a zest for life and embodied the true spirit of Sisu.
He was preceded in death by his parents, Walter and Ina Kitti, two brothers, Christopher and Mark, and sister, Marcia Nichols.
He is survived by his wife Kelly; children Briana (Dave), Karyn (Brandon), Jacob (Crystal), Craig, Ari (Xiomara), Tiia! (Jesse); grandchildren Hannah, Madalynn, Edie, Lily, Emma, Audrey, Reagan, Caiden; sister Carole Kitti (Stan Horowitz); brother Paul (Doris) Kitti; his beloved mother/father in-law Marie (Kangas) & Don Juntunen; in-laws: lifelong friend Cliff Nichols, Penn Kitti, Dave (Michelle) Kangas, Tammy (Harlan) Hilman, Gerry (Jo Anne) Kangas, Kara (Scott) Destrampe; dear friends Susan (former wife) & Hobby Beich; numerous aunts, uncles, nieces, nephews, and cousins.
Special thanks to the nurses, doctors, and staff of Aspirus Keweenaw Hospital, Oncology, Infusion, and Aspirus at Home for your outstanding level of care and compassion.
A private celebration of life will be held later in the summer.
Memorial donations may be made to the Mayo Clinic or the Keweenaw Health Foundation. Please consider giving the gift of life by donating blood.
The Erickson Crowley Peterson Funeral Home is assisting the family with the arrangements. Online condolences can be left for the family at www.ericksoncrowleypeterson.com