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Robert W. Kittle

March 16, 2020

Robert W. Kittle, 92, of Clayton, NY passed away at his home, surrounded by his loving family on Monday, March 16, 2020.

Bob was born in Clayton on April 17, 1927, son of the late Wallace and Florence Phillips Kittle. A graduate of Clayton High School in 1944, education was a valued part of Bob’s life. With ten years of higher education, including Clarkson University and University of Rochester, Bob proudly concluded his studies at Cornell University, receiving a Bachelor of Science degree in Animal Husbandry in 1954.

He entered the US Navy on May 8, 1945, serving in World War II. He received the American Theater and Victory Medals and was honorably discharged as a Motor Machinist's Mate, Third Class on June 7, 1946.

On December 11, 1954, he married Beverley A. McKinley in a private ceremony in Buffalo, NY.

Returning from the service, Bob began a long and exciting career, first working in the chemistry department at Kodak. This was followed by a time in Chicago at Swift & Co., a renowned meat packing plant. In 1958, Bob’s expertise in agriculture brought him back to Clayton, when Merle Youngs hired Bob as Farm Manager at Zenda Farms. Bob later continued in this position under John MacFarlane, also managing cattle on Carleton Island. Under Bob’s direction, Zenda Farms had one of the largest active beef cattle operations in the East. Bob loved his days on the farm and spoke fondly of his time spent passing on his work ethic and knowledge to the numerous young men that followed.

After a brief health setback, Bob was no longer able to meet the day-to-day physical demands of working on the farm. He quickly transitioned into the business world of Youngs Drug Products, also owned by John MacFarlane. Bob was initially in charge of all Trojan operations at the Atlanta, San Francisco, and New Zealand plants, where he first served as Research Director of Animal Skins before becoming a vice president. He ended his career building a centralized distribution facility in Charlotte, North Carolina after the 1985 acquisition of Youngs Drug Products by Carter Wallace, with whom he remained employed until retiring in 1989.

In recent years, Bob could be found at the TI Museum as a part of their History at Noon, where he loved to talk about ice harvesting as a child with his father and the Kittle Brothers' Ice business. Bob was an active member of Christ Episcopal Church, the American Legion Post 821, the Clayton Cemetery Association, and a former member of the Clayton Lions Club. Bob was also one of the original owners of Frontenac Crystal Springs.

Throughout his life, Bob enjoyed the pleasures of gardening and had a deep love and appreciation for the art of cooking and all the camaraderie that came with it. He valued his time dining at local establishments with family and friends. This Christmas, Bob self-published a family cookbook with some of his favorite recipes to pass his traditions along to his grandchildren. Throughout the years, Bob was considered a mentor to many, and in his final days, he was still teaching important life lessons to his beloved family.

Bob’s gentle demeanor, brilliant mind, and ability to love unconditionally will be deeply missed. He was the soul of our family, taken from us all too soon.

Along with Beverley, his wife of 65 years, Bob is survived by his daughter, Kendra E. Kittle, Clayton, and his son, George E. (Patricia E.) Kittle, Clayton. Bob was the loving grandfather of Mark, Adam, and Nathan Harrington; Kassandra Kittle Mallette, Jessica Kittle Hoag, and Kolby Kittle. He will also be dearly missed by his eleven great-grandchildren and numerous nieces, nephews, and cousins. Bob was predeceased by his son, David R. Kittle, August 5, 1988, and his sister, Mary Cupernall.

A Celebration of Life will be held at a time and date to be announced. Arrangements are entrusted with Cummings Funeral Service, Inc., Clayton.

In lieu of flowers, donations in Bob’s name may be made to any of the following: the T. I. Museum in memory of Dr. John Eppolito, 312 James St.; TIERS, PO Box 524, both in Clayton, NY 13624; or Hospice of Jefferson County, 1398 Gotham St., Watertown, NY 13601. Online condolences to his family may be posted at www.cummingsfuneral.com.


#28 Carolyn G Youngs 2020-03-30 14:54
I was able to speak to Bob when we first moved to
Clayton in 2016. Bob knew my father Allan Youngs
from work and we spoke about many events when
we came on vacation in the fifties and sixties.
Bob, will be missed and my condolences to the
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#27 Shara Peets, M.D. 2020-03-27 17:00
I haven't seen Bob for several years, but I remember his kind face clearly. It was always a pleasure to have him come in and see us in the office with his positive and supportive demeanor and interesting conversation.
I am very sorry for your loss. I know he lives in your hearts.
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#26 Kathy Strough 2020-03-25 23:27
Our sympathies to you all -Bob was such a sweetheart ...he always had a smile for everyone. Just remember that right now memories bring tears, but there will come a time when memories bring smiles....he's joined some great company. Mike n Kathy Frickman Strough
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#25 Steve Yazell 2020-03-23 13:47
Bev, Kendra, and George and family. So very sorry to hear this. Many fond and happy memories of time spent with all of you.. Much love to all..
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#24 Deborah Phinney 2020-03-23 13:03
I was very sad to hear of Bob's passing. I always loved running into Bob & Bev and talking, they always had so much fun. He was a wonderful man and it is a big loss for our community. The entire Kittle family is in my thoughts and prayers during this difficult time..
Debbie Schafer Phinney
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#23 Rich Potter 2020-03-23 09:08
George, I'm sorry to hear of your dad's passing. He was a great guy and he did so much for all of us kids. I wish you and all of your family comfort at this time. All the best, Rich
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#22 Mike and Patty Buker 2020-03-22 15:06
Bev,Kendra,Geor ge,Patty and family,
Patty and I are shocked and saddened to hear of Bob’s. passing. The loss of another community icon.It’s hard losing people you looked up to growing up (Bob,Earl and Linda Cole,Doc and Betsy Eppolito,Bob and Mary Bastian,Joe Perrucio,Sam and Shirley Guardino,Louie Costentino, Grant and Evelyn Dier, and so many more! RIP Bob Kittle.You will be missed by many!
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#21 Steven P Strouse 2020-03-22 12:18
To the Kittle Family, So sorry for your loss, Bob lived a full life hold the many great memories you have close to your heart to get you through these rough times
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#20 Walt & Cathy Perry 2020-03-22 11:56
Bev and family, so sorry to hear of Bob's passing..He will sure be missed by many. So glad we had the visit at the eye doctors.Hugs ti you..
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#19 Susan Gillett 2020-03-22 10:19
My condolences to his wife and family. I have lots of great memories of Bob and playing at Zenda farm when I was a kid. My dad was his vet, Dr. Gillett. Bob was always such a kind person, I still recall his face and voice.
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