John James Kittel: 1923--2006

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Former Steamboat Springs resident John James Kittel died May 11, 2006, in Palisade. He was 82.

He was born to James William and Hazel Lydia Beeber Kittel on Sept. 18, 1923, in Lyndon, Kan. He attended schools in Lyndon.

While attending high school, John owned and operated the skating rink in Melvan, Kan., which he greatly enjoyed. During his senior year, he met his true love, Joyce Orrine Rippatoe -- the only girl he ever dated.

He and Joyce were married May 29, 1943, in Fort Campbell, Ky.

After graduating from high school in 1942, John joined the Army. He served in the Pacific Theater during World War II and received the American Service Medal, Asiatic-Pacific Service Medal, Philippine Liberation Ribbon, World War II Victory Medal and Good Conduct Medal. He received his honorable discharge in 1946. He was proud to have served his country.

John attended Hartnell College in Salinas, Calif., where he received his degree in carpentry, which was his lifelong career. He worked as a building contractor in Salinas until 1959, when the couple moved to Granby. John built a motel that they managed for several years. John later opened a cabinet and pre-hung door shop in Steamboat Springs that he managed until his retirement. His last few years were spent in the Grand Junction area.

John was an avid sportsman, collecting many trophies over the years. He enjoyed backcountry Jeeping and outings of any kind. John never met a stranger and was always willing to visit with or lend a helping hand to anyone he could.

John was preceded in death by his parents, his wife of 50 years and a grandson.

He is survived by his brother, Robert, and his wife Vera Kittel of Palisade; a daughter, Judy, and her husband Alan Groppe of Cheyenne, Wyo.; two sons, James Orrin Kittel of Denver and Jerald and his wife Cheri Kittel of Prescott Valley, Ariz.; three granddaughters; and three great-grandchildren.

Gravesides services and burial were held at 2 p.m. July 29, 2006, at Steamboat Springs Cemetery.

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