John William Kitchens, 88, departed this world on September 2, 2023, at his home in Littleton, Colorado. John passed peacefully with his two sons by his side.
His life was marked by a relentless pursuit of knowledge and a dedication to service. After graduating from Handley High School, John enlisted in the Navy with the aspiration of leveraging the GI bill to attend college upon his return. He fulfilled this dream, earning his Bachelor's degree from the University of Alabama and continuing his postgraduate studies at Vanderbilt University. Inspired by the Cuban missile crisis and a desire to make the world a safer place, he earned his PhD in South American History from Vanderbilt. It was also during this time at Vanderbilt that he met his beloved wife of 58 years, Lynne, and together they embarked on a lifetime of adventure.
As newlyweds and new parents, John and Lynne explored Central and South America extensively, immersing themselves in the cultures of Lima, Bogota and Guatemala City. They returned each time to teach at Universities in Tennessee and Pennsylvania before adopting a more settled lifestyle to raise their two sons in Montgomery, Alabama.
In Montgomery, while maintaining a full-time teaching schedule at Tuskegee University, John dedicated his weekends and summers to working on the family farm in Roanoke, Alabama. In the later years of his career, he served as a base historian and speechwriter for generals stationed at Fort Rucker, Alabama, and Fort Huachuca, Arizona.
Upon retiring, John and Lynne's journey continued, with them settling in Pt. Charlotte, Florida, and traveling across the United States in their motorhome with their parrot Chicabal (affectionately known as "Bird") in tow. Ultimately, they found their final home in Littleton, Colorado, to be closer to their youngest son and his family.
Throughout their lives, John and Lynne were unwavering advocates for social justice and environmental preservation. They dedicated countless hours to volunteering for local and national representatives of the Democratic party and left an indelible mark on their community.
John was preceded in death by his wife, Lynne Brauer Kitchens, mother, Lena Mae Beaird and brother, Daniel Zachary Kitchens.
John is survived by his beloved sons and their spouses, Alan and Amy Kitchens, Brian and Michelle Kitchens, as well as his cherished grandchildren, Emily Kate Donald, Benjamin Kitchens, Ashley Kitchens, Charlie Kitchens, Mary Rose Kitchens, Adam Kitchens, Mathew Cooper, Tyler Kitchens, Delaney Kitchens and Kyle Kitchens.
John will be remembered not only for his academic accomplishments but also for his unwavering commitment to family, justice and the betterment of the world. He leaves behind a legacy that will continue to inspire and impact generations to come.
Donations in memory of John are welcome to some of the many organizations he supported and believed would make the world a better place: Southern Poverty Law Center, Democratic National Committee, The Nature Conservancy or a similar charity of your choosing.
A celebration of life will be hosted by his family at a date yet to be determined. Please feel free to share any memories or pictures about John in the guestbook area below or via email to firstname.lastname@example.org and email@example.com.