NEWFIELDS - Longtime former Seacoast, N.H., resident Harvey G. Kittredge, Jr., died on Saturday, December 31, 2016, at 94, in Beaufort, S.C. A passionate music-lover, he was an irreverent wit who did not suffer fools, a Francophile and "true original."
The woman he called his "Control Tower" was his wife Betty of almost 70 years. Given a choice between watching tv or his wife after a recent stroke landed him in a wheelchair, he told daughter Sophie "I want to see Mommy." He loved her.
Born in Dayton, Ohio to Clare and Harvey G. Kittredge, Sr., "Kit" attended Cornell University and served three years in the Army during World War II. He met Betty at an Ohio party where their friend, comedian Johnny Winters, was cracking jokes. Elizabeth Houston was a bright, beautiful, artistic Barnard University student with a French mother. Kit never looked back. After he proposed, she called from Paris on her first trip there to meet her French family and said "Yes." He left in such a rush he forgot his toothbrush.
Married in Paris in 1948, the couple returned stateside, but such was the romance of 1950's Paris that they soon moved there. In Paris, Kit learned French at the Alliance Francaise on the GI Bill, built a little stone house without electricity on a windswept Normandy cliff, and joined the US Foreign Service in 1951. The globetrotting family lived in France, French-speaking Vietnam between wars, Japan, Israel (with Six-Day War family evacuation) and Washington DC. In retirement, Kit took up woodworking, restoring an old house and slate-roofed barn in Newfields, near Exeter, home to his widowed mother and her second husband, utopian economist, "Flight from the City" author Ralph Borsodi. The couple spent another year in New Castle and 25 on an S.C., "creek" patrolled by dolphins and osprey.
Ever good for a laugh, the lifelong Democrat belonged to a self-styled group dubbed the Old Farts' Club, and often answered the phone with: "White House!" A music-lover, he hated boyhood violin lessons, but fooled the professor into thinking him studious by playing by ear. He treasured meeting French Gypsy guitarist Django Reinhardt in Paris and Billie Holiday, Art Tatum and Leadbelly in the US. Once told he had the best stereo system in Israel, he boomed Saint-Saens and the Gypsy Kings equally loud. Worried about the world's dwindling wild places, he visited polar bears in Canada, lions and elephants in Kenya, and Antarctica to see penguins in the melting South Pole.
Kit is preceded by his sister Jeannette Lacouture and his beloved nephew "Moby", who shared a memorable time unravelling the rural mysteries of making "Calva," Normandy's white lightning. He leaves wife Betty, siblings Clare Putnam and John Kittredge, three daughters: longtime Portsmouth writer/reporter Clare Kittredge and daughter Sophie Z. "Zaza;" Dr. Annette H. Kittredge and daughter Kendra Marie; Sophie B. Kittredge, and his French nephew Paul-Louis, whom he loved like a son.
SERVICES: His family plans a spring celebration of his life. Instead of flowers, please contribute to the National Audubon Society, Cornell Lab of Ornithology and/or World Wildlife Fund.
ANDERSON FUNERAL HOME
611 ROBERT SMALLS PKWY
Beaufort, SC 29906-9070
Published in Seacoastonline.com from Jan. 6 to Jan. 9, 2017