Life Story Funeral Homes®
The exclusive providers of the Life Story Experience


Life Story Funeral Homes®
The exclusive providers of the Life Story Experience

Robert Peebles Kittredge

April 4, 2024
Fort Worth, TX




Robert Peebles Kittredge, 98, passed away peacefully on April 4 in Fort Worth TX, surrounded by family. Kit emblemized America's Greatest Generation with a life of service to his Kalamazoo community, entrepreneurial success and love of family. The only child of Francis B Kittredge and Mary Peebles of Bellevue PA, his prescribed childhood emphasized a good education above all. He spent his early years at the Fessenden School in Boston and St. Paul's School in Concord NH. Summers with his grandparents at Kittredge Farm in North Andover MA provided the work ethic that only a farm can.

WWII interrupted his 2 years at Dartmouth College with a stint in the Marines studying Japanese. Post war, Kit decided to try his hand in the Midwest to be "a big fish in a small pond", finishing college on the GI Bill at the University of Michigan, joining Psi Upsilon fraternity. There he met Sallie Stevens from Owosso MI, and they married in 1950, raising 4 children in Kalamazoo and attending St. Luke's Episcopal Church.

Kit's sales territory with US Rubber included the post war opportunity and fun in Chicago and Detroit. Noticed for his leadership skills, investors asked 25-year-old Kit to take over a foundering start-up plastics company (with a sole barrel-sized machine). It became Fabri-Kal Corporation and grew to be the third largest privately held thermoforming enterprise in the US. With his blessing, it was sold in 2021 after a 71-year-run. The line, "PLASTICS" from the film The Graduate was invoked hundreds of times over the years. That was Kit. In his 90s, he'd regale his listeners about his good fortune at having been born during the 50 greatest years for American manufacturing. An eternal optimist with strong views, he never failed to listen to differing points of view on any subject, sometimes morphing his own opinions as a result. His children and grandchildren marveled at this rare trait.

Kit lived his philosophy of keeping America strong through education by creating the Fabri-Kal Foundation in 1968 to provide a college education for any of his company's employees in 4 different states. Over two generations of his 1000 employees' kids have directly benefited from this unprecedented foresight. For this, he was inducted into the Plastics Hall of Fame in 2012.

Kit served as Chair of The Michigan Chamber of Commerce, Bronson Hospital and The Society for the Plastics Industry and on the boards of The Gilmore, Kalamazoo College, First America Bank and other local non-profits.

Driving only sports cars in British racing green with tan interiors, Kit drove unabashedly in any Michigan winter weather. In good ScottsYankee fashion he'd own only one car at a time, often bought used, barely fitting his tall frame, golf clubs or hockey sticks. Coaching his sons' hockey gave him great joy. He skied until the age of 82 from the family condo in Park City UT purchased in 1972, reaching his goal of free skiing at age 75. Kit was an avid tennis player into his 80s.

Kit loved America and the democratic system, embracing the responsibility that goes with the privilege of living here. A staunch Republican, he never agreed with the party's Anti-Choice platform. Before Title IX had a name, Kit supported equality in sports.

Kit met Trisha at a potluck in 1990 and she instantly became the love of his life. His family is so grateful for the love she heaped on him for 33 years. They traveled together and spent many happy winters on Treasure Cay in the Bahamas, golfing daily, attending The TC Community Centre Church and Chairing the Corbett Health Clinic board.

Kit is survived by his wife Trisha of Fort Worth TX, 4 children: Rob (Deb) Kittredge of Vicksburg MI, Nan (Sid) Stockdale of Oakley UT, Marny (Keith) Kittredge of Quilcene WA, John (Lani) Kittredge of Richland MI, 2 stepchildren: Jennifer (Murat) Kamacioglu of Fort Worth TX, Clay (Amy) Ellwood of Boulder CO, 9 grandchildren, 3 step grandchildren, and 7 great grandchildren.

In honor of Kit's memory and in lieu of flowers, donations may be given to Ministry with Community (Kalamazoo), The Kalamazoo Community Foundation (Emergency Scholarship Fund) or an educational non-profit of your choice.

Services will be held twice, in Fort Worth TX on April 15 at 11 a.m. at the First Presbyterian Church, reception to follow at the church.

Services in Kalamazoo MI will be held on June 5 at 1:00 p.m. at the First Presbyterian Church with a reception to follow.

Go Blue!