On January 6, 2014, we lost our strong, intelligent, and beautiful mother, grandmother, and friend, Annette S. Kitchen. She died at home in Johnson City, Tennessee, with her loved ones by her side.
Annette Schaller Kitchen was born on August 17, 1931, in Sioux City, Iowa, to Harry and Janet Schaller. She spent her formative years in Storm Lake, Iowa, before leaving home to go to school at Northwestern University. There she met Robert David Kitchen, whom she married on September 4, 1955. They raised their daughters, Georgeanne, Pam, and Sally, in Freeport, Illinois, and then moved to Johnson City after their daughters were grown.
Annette was passionate from an early age about women’s rights, was active in the American Association of University Women and the League of Women Voters, P.E.O., and was a long time CASA volunteer. More recently, she was a founder of The Women’s Fund of East Tennessee. Annette enjoyed bridge and book club, and at one time was the part owner of an independent bookstore. She taught her children to love words, language, and books.
Annette and Bob were adventurous world travelers and favored trips to landscapes unspoiled by Western civilization. Memorable trips included a storm-fraught, fuel-scant flight into Lukla in which the passengers were asked to handle navigation; illness in the Sahara requiring transportation on a litter dragged behind a camel; and a CIA-sponsored visit with drunken, hostile, machete-wielding hosts in northeastern India.
Last year, she traveled alone to Egypt, found that all other travelers on her tour had canceled because of the political unrest, and enjoyed her trip anyway. Against all odds, after all of her wild adventures and a final Christmas celebration in Florida, she finally made it home to die in her own bed. She was fond of saying that she liked to live her life on her own terms, and she did so until the end.
Annette is survived by her three daughters, Georgeanne, of Park City, Utah; Pamela, of Florence, Arizona; and Sarah Beth, of Sewickley, Pennsylvania. She is also survived by a number of beloved grandchildren: Robert Young, Katherine Young, Sara Young, Kimberley Araujo, Walker Barr, Savannah Barr, Isabel Arjmand, Isaac Arjmand—and one hirsute and feline great grandchild, Mr. Spectacles. Annette’s sister, brother, and their families, Carolyn and John Hopley of Greenwich, Connecticut, and George and Marcia Schaller of Storm Lake, Iowa, also survive her. In addition, she is survived by her late husband’s three brothers and their families: Dick and Elaine Kitchen, Jim and Pat Kitchen, and Bill and Jane Kitchen—all of Michigan.
We miss her strength of character, vibrancy, and grace; however, she will not be forgotten. She will continue to encourage and motivate us by her example.
Anyone who would like to make a contribution in Annette’s memory may do so to The Women’s Fund of East Tennessee at 625 Market Street, Suite 1400, Knoxville, TN 37902, or the Johnson City Public Library at 100 Millard Street, Johnson City, TN 37604.
A memorial service for Annette Kitchen is planned for a later date.
Memories and condolences may be sent to the Kitchen family via www.morrisbaker.com.
Morris-Baker Funeral Home and Cremation Services, 2001 Oakland Avenue, Johnson City, TN 37601 is serving the Kitchen family. (423) 282-1521