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Kit Randall Walvoord (1957-2014)

Kit Randall Walvoord

Kit Randall Walvoord

Kit Randall Walvoord was the second of three sons born to David and Peggy Walvoord.  He was born October 20, 1957, in Amarillo, Texas.

He attended Trinity Lutheran Kindergarten.

Kit went to Olsen Park Elementary School from 1st grade through 5th grade.  In 1969 the family moved to the Belmar subdivision and Kit spent his 6th grade year at Belmar Elementary School.

When Kit was 8-years-old and in second grade, the family went to on a vacation to Camp Summerlife in New Mexico.  Floyd Hemphill (principal of Olsen Park Elementary School) and his brother owned this camp and invited some other elementary school principals and their families to this camp for summer vacation.  Kit’s father David Walvoord was principal of Oak Dale Elementary School and were one of the families invited.

The Walvoords were traveling in their red Plymouth station wagon along with Don and June Camp and their two boys and their car. Don was principal of Humphrys Highland Elementary School.

Both families had arrived before the camp was open and had made a stop to let the children run and play on the surrounding hills up in the mountains.  When the children returned to the car, David and Peggy noticed Kit was having difficulty breathing.

Don and June Camp took Kit’s brothers (Keith and Scott) with them in their car and continued on to Camp Summerlife, while Kit’s parents rushed him to a hospital in Taos.

Kit’s mother, Peggy, had been working on getting a teaching certificate at West Texas State and had just completed a required CPR course. While taking the class she remembers thinking,  “When will I ever use this?”  Peggy rode in the backseat with Kit while David sped to the hospital in Taos.

Kit stopped breathing.

Peggy began administering mouth-to-mouth resuscitation.

Upon arrival at Taos there were no doctors at the hospital.

David took off to Tuccumcari speeding all the way and hoping the Highway Patrol would pull them over and give aid. When they pulled into the ER, it was locked. They finally got someone in the building to come around and let them in. Finally Kit was on oxygen.

There were no physicians on duty at this hospital either, but were told most of them would be out at the lake. Facing an all-day-ordeal of finding a doctor in Tuccumcari, it was decided to take Kit to St. Anthony’s Hospital in Amarillo .  The staff at the Tuccumcari Hospital called ahead.

The diagnosis was: Acute pulmonary edema. Kit had almost died.

Keith and Scott stayed at camp and were brought back to Amarillo with one of the families.

In April of 1969, Kit held a carnival in his family’s backyard and acted as carnival chairman to raise money for Muscular Dystrophy (MD). Kit and his friends raised $3.10 for the MDA.

Kit Walvoord got his name in the Amarillo Globe Times for his fund raising efforts for the The Muscular Dystrophy Association (MDA)

On April 23, 1969, Kit Walvoord got his name in the Amarillo Globe-Times for his fund-raising efforts for the The Muscular Dystrophy Association (MDA).

 

Kit later attended David Crockett Junior High School from 1971-1973.

Kit graduated in the Class of 1976 from Amarillo High School.  His was the first class to attend all three of his high school years in the new AHS building which opened in 1974. The old Amarillo High School building in downtown had burned down in 1970.

Kit had a good singing voice. While in high school, he was in Bel Canto Choir. He also had a supporting role in AHS.’ production of South Pacific.

Kit also enjoyed gymnastics and frequented The Maverick Club. He would spend his money at arcades and liked to play pinball.

After High School, Kit worked at The Grain Exchange and J.C. Penney.

He attended West Texas State University for a while, and then joined the US Navy.

Kit in his Navy Uniform

Kit Walvoord in his Navy Uniform

He completed basic training in San Diego, California.  He trained in nuclear power at Vallejo, California; Chicago, Illinois; Orlando, Florida; Pocatello, Idaho; and was eventually stationed at the submarine base at Groton, Connecticut where he was assigned to the USS Providence (SSN-719), Nuclear powered submarine.

USS Providence (SSN 719) is a Los Angeles-class attack submarine. The Los Angeles-class, sometimes called the LA-class or the 688-class, is a class of nuclear-powered fast attack submarines that forms the backbone of the U.S. Navy's submarine force. Sixty-two submarines of this class have been completed, 41 are still in active service.

USS Providence (SSN 719) is a Los Angeles-class attack submarine.

While in Idaho, he met Verlie May Johnston. They got married in May 15, 1982 in Amarillo, Texas in the small chapel at First Presbyterian Church.  Kit’s older brother Keith was his best-man. Kit’s cousins, Lynn and Cindy helped plan and hostess the reception at Kit’s parent’s house. I believe Kit’s mother Peggy played the role of Matron of Honor. (none of Verlie’s family were able to attend the wedding).

In 1984, while in Connecticut, they had one child, Kirk David Walvoord.

Kit left the Navy and returned to West Texas State University and earned a Bachelor’s degree and a teaching certificate.

He taught high school math in Odessa, Texas for two years and then moved back to Amarillo.

Kit and Verlie divorced on the 28th of March, 1991.

Kit continued to raise his son Kirk as a single parent.  Kit said the proudest achievement in his life was his son Kirk.

Kit was a fan of science fiction and the TV show Star Trek.  In fact, his son, Kirk David Walvoord was named after the Star Trek character Captain James T. Kirk.  Kirk Walvoord’s middle name, David, was named after Kit’s father. Kirk also graduated from (now) West Texas A&M University with a degree in Economics.

Kit liked reading Isaac Asimov science-fiction books and Steven King novels, but his real love was comic books.

Kit dressed as Superman c. 1963

Kit dressed as Superman c. 1962

Kit loved collecting comic books. He owned and operated Kit’s Silver Age Comics for many years and sold comic books worldwide from a website he designed and built himself.  He specialized in Comics from the Silver Age (1956-1970) and Disney Comics were among his favorites. The Donald Duck, and Scrooge McDuck series of comics were among his favorites. Kit admired the cartoonist, author and artist, Carl Barks who drew many of the Duck comics. Kit attended many comic book conventions around the country and met many cartoonists including Carl Barks and the Marvel Comic Books legend, Stan Lee who co-created Spider-Man, the Hulk, the Fantastic Four, Iron Man, Thor, and the X-Men.  Kit recalled when he first met Stan Lee at a convention, there were no lines to meet him or get his autograph.  No one seemed to know who he was at that time.  It was many years later that there was a surge in interest of Stan Lee and his work including block buster movies featuring his characters.

Kit had a red Camaro that he loved to drive and he would go pick up his Grandma Walvoord and take her for rides in this low-slung sports car.  Kit would take Grandma on drives around Amarillo to see the sites that she wanted to see, but mostly they both loved taking a driving tour of Palo Duro Canyon and would do that often.

In 2011, Kit had a stroke which caused him to have aphasia which robbed him of the ability to speak and express himself.  Kit also had suffered 25-years from Crohn’s disease from the time he had left the Navy.

Kit was a member of First Presbyterian Church in Amarillo. Kit and son Kirk would attend Christmas Eve services with his folks.  Although Kit could not speak very well in the last years of his life, he was still able to sing the Christmas Carols.

Kit Randall Walvoord died Tuesday, January 28, 2014.  He was 56-years-old.

 

Updated: December 1, 2015 — 3:00 PM

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