Deceased January 25, 2015
Frank R. "Kitch" Kitchell was born in Battle Creek, Mich., to Francis Robert Kitchell and Jeanette Abbott on July 11, 1918. Frank and his three younger brothers were raised in Newburyport, Mass. All four boys attended Governor Dummer Academy in Byfield, Mass., on scholarships, as they did at Amherst College (Peter '40, Samuel '43 and Webster '53). At Amherst, Frank participated on the swim team and was a member of the Alpha Delta Phi fraternity.
He served as a lieutenant commander on a minesweeper in the Pacific Fleet during World War II (1941-45). Following the war, he attended Harvard Law School on the GI Bill, graduating in 1948. Shortly thereafter, Frank and two classmates drove west together. Arriving in Seattle, they found work, married and raised families—their children and grandchildren remaining close friends to this day.
Frank married Virginia Price, a Seattle native, in 1949. He practiced law for many years, as a partner in the Seattle-based law firm of Graham & Dunn. He remained active in the U.S. Naval Reserve, serving in the Korean War. His years with the navy may explain Frank's strong interest and involvement in the Seattle waterfront. He took great satisfaction in serving for 13 years on the Seattle Port Commission (1961-74; president '64 and '69), promoting the growth of the Port of Seattle, Seattle-Tacoma Airport and expanding trade with the Far East.
Frank served as a director of the National Bank of Commerce and Rainier Bancorporation and was a trustee of the Helen Bush School, The Pilchuck Glass School (1972-92; president '76) and the Seattle Artificial Kidney Center. He remained ever-thankful for the excellent education he received at Amherst and was proud to have a son (Robert '77) and three grandchildren (Fraser '07, Virginia Rives '08 and William '13) follow him at the College.
Frank and Virginia were active campers, canoeists and skiers and especially loved spending time on Bainbridge Island with their close community of friends. Frank remained mentally clear as he approached his 97th birthday and passed quietly at home on Jan. 25, 2015, with his wife at his side, his three sons and daughters-in-law present to comfort them both and several grandchildren there regaling him with fond memories and praise. Frank is predeceased by his three brothers and his daughter Sally (1982). He is survived by his wife of 65 years, Virginia; his three sons, Wiley (Marianne), Robert (Carolyn) and James (Carole) all of Seattle; and his 10 grandchildren—Erin (Michael Bolger), Andrew, Fraser, Virginia Rives (Eric Cyzner), Sarah, William, Murphy, Ellie, Angus and Leo.
Bob Kitchell '77