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Nirene Kitt celebrates 90th during family Thanksgiving in Wauneta PDF Print E-mail
Written by Wauneta Breeze   
Saturday, 10 December 2011 18:03

Bruce and Nirene Kitt in 1999, above, and as a young couple in the 1940s, below.


Phyllis Nirene (Troxel) Kitt met with family and friends for Thanksgiving, also her 90th birthday, during the Kitt family reunion in Wauneta.

Born in Elsie Nov. 24, 1921, her parents were Walter and Clarice Troxel. She and sisters Donna Mae of Portland, Ore., and Glenda, of Bernalillo, N.M., grew up in the family home on 20 acres outside of Elsie.

Kitt’s winter chores included bringing in cobs and coal for heat. Her least favorite thing to wear when young was long underwear.

During the winter she and Donna would wake up in their room under a pile of “newspaper blankets” skiffed with snow. During the summer she enjoyed spending time in her bedroom reading and eating peanut butter with a spoon.

Kitt graduated from Elsie High School as valedictorian in 1939.

Prior to that she attended a four-room schoolhouse, where her first teacher, Mrs. Lee, would smack students’ legs with a little red stick if they misbehaved.

She excelled at girls’ softball and shuffleboard. During her life, she has played at least seven instruments, but her principal instrument was the piano. She still plays occasionally for the Imperial Community Center with a band she and late husband Bruce Edwin Kitt formed in North Platte—The Musicmakers.

Kitt earned a teaching degree from Kearney State Teachers College, after which she taught grades 1-8 in a one-room schoolhouse near Elsie.

On Aug. 21, 1942, she married Kitt in her parents’ home in the morning, as the newlyweds wanted to get on the road to their honeymoon in Estes Park, Colo.

The couple lived in a house on the family farm. Difficulties encountered included cash shortages, finding stock in bad weather, no electricity at first, and having to travel several miles to see the doctor.

In her “Legacy for My Loved Ones” journal, Kitt said, “There is always some solution, if you think about it and discuss it together. Also, we were Christian, which helps any situation.”

The couple then farmed in Missouri, returning to Nebraska in 1952. Bruce worked in Imperial, their children attended school in Wauneta, and Nirene stayed at home, until she obtained jobs at the sale barn in Imperial and later for J.C. Penney.

The family moved to California in 1960, where all four children began their college educations.

After retirement, the couple moved to North Platte, where they became involved in their church and community service.

Bruce was admitted to the Imperial Manor nursing home in 2007, so Nirene sold the North Platte house and moved to Imperial, where she still lives in her house. Bruce passed away in 2007.

Kitt lists her most influential people as her father, who taught her how to think for herself, and her teacher, Lucretia Hopper, who showed her how to use her mind in the best manner.

In reviewing her life and what she’s most grateful for, Kitt said, “I’m thankful for a wonderful husband with a good, solid family of integrity and from the union four beautiful children who put the Lord very highly prioritized in their lives and have brought up their children accordingly, and we thank God for the blessings of a family like this.”

Children include Yvonne (Jay) Streeter of Plano, Texas; Wayne (Kathy) Kitt of La Mesa, Calif.; Cheryl (Bill) Bryan of Imperial and Phyllis (Bob) Broadus of Jackson, Tenn., 15 grandchildren and 17 great-grandchildren.

Last Updated on Saturday, 10 December 2011 18:07