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HomeNL-2018-09 Dave Kitson Memorial

Dave Kitson Memorial
September 2018

Dave's Fight

Journal entry by Carol Kitson — May 10, 2018

Those of you who know Dave Kitson know that he rises to and meets all the challenges life throws at him. Recently he learned that he has a brain tumor. He learned this two days before he was scheduled to walk our daughter, Michelle, down the aisle to marry Austin, a truly wonderful man! Dave made it to the wedding and reception and went back into the hospital the day after to prepare for a brain biopsy.

Dave exemplifies the saying "It is hard to keep a good man down!" He is doing his best to enjoy life as much as possible and spend time with his family. He is learning how many people care about him and wish only the best for him, and has been humbled by the number of well wishes and offers of help from his many friends. The calls, cards, outings and visits are greatly appreciated.

One Step Forward, Two Steps Back
Journal entry by Carol Kitson — Jul 20, 2018

God bless you all for the joy and pleasure you have brought to Dave's life. Words cannot express how grateful we are for all of you!

A Wonderful Life
Journal entry by Carol Kitson — Jul 29, 2018

David Alan Kitson, loving father, brother, uncle, and friend, passed away peacefully at his home on Friday, July 27, 2018. A memorial will be held on a later date, likely 4 weeks or more.


David Alan Kitson, 69, was born March 16, 1949 in Lakewood, Ohio to parents, Forrest Garfield Kitson and Virginia Louise Becher Kitson and passed away July 27, 2018.

In Lieu of Flowers
Journal entry by Carol Kitson — Jul 31, 2018

David was a devoted animal lover and dearly loved his boys, Milo and Finney, his two rescue dogs. Please consider donating to the following no kill animal shelter:

Friends For Life 
102 E. 22nd Street
Houston, TX 77008
Fax: 713-239-8127

Remembering Dave

Over the past 10 years I have enjoyed many wonderful trips with Dave Kitson. Our first meeting was a Bayou Preservation Association improvement project for Buffalo Bayou, followed by a float trip downstream through Memorial Park. I remember meeting his daughter Michelle there, and we made a group effort at pushing a stone-dumping truck back up from the Woodway access point, followed by a nice quiet trip down the bayou.

July 2008 Dave, my daughter Ellen and I, and Linda Day and her dog Chipper took a spin through Lake Charlotte and the connecting bayous. It’s a wonder Dave ever paddled with me again after that trip, as we discovered the water level was too low to make an easy connection between lakes and we were all mired in knee deep mud.

Instead of dampening Dave’s enthusiasm for paddling, the trip seemed to have enhanced his desire to see more and do more, and find more places to explore, a quest that continued through his paddling life including November 2017 when I last paddled with him.

2008 was a memorable year in many respects, including my work on the book “Canoeing and Kayaking Houston Waterways”. Hurricane Ike roared in, halting publication of the book, and wreaking havoc with the landscape and people’s lives. Dave joined Paul Woodcock, Mary Zaborowski, my daughter Ellen and me for a first paddle on Armand Bayou at the end of September, right after Ike. After that, few months passed that we were not on the water at least several times. Pelican Island, Pickett’s Bayou, Champion Lake, San Jacinto River, Trinity River, Galveston Bay, we paddled all around the Houston area. The book didn’t get back on track and published until 2012. On its front cover, and several places inside, are pictures of Dave, cover boy and explorer. A 2012 trip on Oyster Creek was extra special for me as Dave brought a beautiful bouquet to celebrate the publication.

Book cover, Dave paddling Luce Bayou. Photo by Joe Coker

The intent of publication is to advertise the beautiful, watery natural world that is all around Houston. Many of the waterways were sketchily explored and described. Dave and our group of explorers have pushed those boundaries and descriptions. The Trinity River basin is particularly targeted and Dave, Joe Coker, Tom Douglas, Kent Walters, Bruce Bodson, David Portz and others expanded the known universe. Spring and Cypress Creeks to the north of Houston were explored with the intent of establishing more canoe trails. It seemed no level was too high or too low for exploration and even 50,000 cfs on the Trinity only spurred more paddling.

Dave’s expertise with GPS and mapping technologies enhanced trip reporting and expanded exploration capabilities. In the backwaters of the Trinity river basin, being able to navigate via GPS is a wonderful tool as we often wound our way through flooded forests with no discernible pathway.

His engineering training stood him in good stead with record keeping of his many trips. He preceded me as Fleet Captain for the canoe club and patiently explained to me, multiple times, how to keep the tallies of miles paddled from year to year. I believe he paddled as many as 400 miles some years, and most were over 200. One year I had rotator cuff shoulder surgery and was unable to paddle for some months: Dave paddled me in my tandem canoe that year for the final 6 miles to make sure I hit the 100 mile award level.

My photographic record of trips with Dave ends with the Mac Lake trip of November 2017. We put our boats in the water at Cedar Hill Park on Lake Charlotte, proceeded up Mack Bayou, across the Sulfur Cut, and farther north through Mac Lake and its bayou than I’d ever been before. Neither of us had any inkling that would be our last paddle trip together.

The photographic record of many happy paddling, and hiking and birding times remains, and a summary is at the Flickr site: here

Rest in peace Dave, it was a great pleasure to have shared so many adventures with you.

Natalie Wiest

Click the image below to see a memorial photo album of Dave Kitson photos: