Ervin Kitt - January 25, 2009
Ervin Willard Kitt, 91, passed away peacefully on Jan. 25, 2009, with his wife, Joan, daughter and son-in-law, son and daughter-in-law and granddaughter at his side.
Ervin was born in Dundy County at the family home south of Wauneta on Sept. 26, 1917, the third of six children and the first son born to John Jay and Mary (Donze) Kitt.
Ervin grew up on the family farm, attending Calvert Country School through eighth grade. He attended Wauneta High School where he played football and was a charter member of the Wauneta Chapter of the Future Farmers of America, graduating in 1936.
After high school Ervin attended a short course of agricultural studies at the University of Nebraska in Lincoln with his cousin Leland Kitt.
Ervin returned to the family farm and focused his energies on farming until 1952 when he met and married the love of his life, Joan Thompson. They were married March 23, 1952, at the Wauneta Methodist Church—two days after a blizzard struck the state.
To this union three children were born, two daughters, Candy Jo (Henning) and Denise Fae (Janicek), and one son, Keenan Ervin Kitt.
Ervin and Joan made their home in the rural Wauneta area, first on the South Divide, then later on the North Divide where they have lived for the past 20 years.
Ervin began his lifelong occupation of farming and ranching at the age of six, helping in the fields where he guided a horse-pulled two-row cultivator. During his lifetime Ervin witnessed the evolution of farming from the horse-drawn plow and pull-type thresher to his last John Deere 8400 tractor.
As a teenager Ervin worked alongside his father drilling and digging wells. Together they dug many of the domestic and livestock wells in southwest Nebraska.
Ervin liked nearly every aspect of the ranching and farming business but, if pressed, he would admit that harvesting wheat and picking corn were his favorites.
Ervin continued the tradition of civic service established by his parents. He served as a member of the Wauneta School Board for 23 years from 1954 to 1977, assuming several officer positions during his tenure on the board.
He was a director on the Wauneta Co-op Oil board, serving for 29 years including several terms as board president before retiring in 1987.
Ervin was a lifelong member of the Methodist Church, beginning as a child at the rural Mt. Zion Methodist Church and in his later years as a member of the Wauneta United Methodist Church. He served many years on the Board of Trustees, first at Mt. Zion and then in Wauneta.
Ervin served as 4-H club leader for the Range Riders in addition to his involvement with Boy Scouts and junior rodeo.
Among Ervin’s most lasting legacies may be having patiently taught two generations of Kitt children to ride horse and drive tractor.
Ervin is survived by his wife of 56 years, Joan (Thompson) Kitt of Wauneta; daughter, Candy, and her husband, Tom Henning, of Lincoln; daughter, Denise, and her husband, Kevin Janicek, of Wauneta; son, Keenan Kitt, and his wife, Tina, of Wauneta. Six grandchildren: Kyle Ervin Kitt of Lincoln; Mandi Jo Janicek and her fiance, Beau Kramer, of Wauneta; Ashley Pearl Kitt of Lincoln; Cassandra Kitt Henning of Lincoln; Madeline Kitt Henning of Lincoln and John J.A. Kitt of Wauneta. One brother, Paul Kitt, of Wauneta. Four sisters-in-law: Margie Shackelford and husband, Cliff, of Wauneta; Pat Kitt of Schuyler, Neb.; Lorraine Einspahr of Lincoln; and Elaine Condrun of Marion, Iowa. Three brothers-in-law: Ronald Thompson of Johnson Lake, Neb.; William Pogge of Neola, Iowa; and Rodney Harvey of Lincoln; and numerous nieces and nephews, cousins and friends.
He was preceded in death by his parents, John J. and Mary Kitt; three sisters, Helen Kitt, Naomi Casker and Fern Stinnette; and one brother, Junior Kitt.
Funeral services were held Thursday, Jan. 29, at the Wauneta United Methodist Church with Pastor Judy Dye officiating.
Pianist was Diana Ham accompanying vocalist Dawn Applegarth.
Interment followed at Wauneta’s Riverside Cemetery, with Liewer Funeral Home in charge of arrangements.
Casketbearers were Kyle Kitt, John Kitt, Kent Kitt, Bob Fanning, Marty Fanning, Kirby Kitt, Terry Kitt and Joe Maris.
Honorary casketbearers were Bob Hardy, Clyde Hoff, Keith Kitt, Harold Maris, Wayne Richards, Marlin Fortkamp, Lonnie Kitt, Larry Kitt and Gaylin Hartzer.
A memorial has been established in Ervin’s memory at the Wauneta United Methodist Church or the Wauneta Medical Clinic.