LA & S Dean Kitterle died on Tuesday

By Gerold Shelton

The family of Frederick Kitterle, dean of the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences, announced in a statement to the Alumni Advisory Committee that Kitterle had passed away at 7:15 a.m. Tuesday morning.

Kitterle had suffered from a bout with cancer that started in October last year, said Joseph Grush, associate dean for LA&S.

NIU President John Peters sent out an e-mail to faculty and staff at 10:53 a.m. announcing Kitterle had passed away at Northwestern Memorial Hospital in Chicago following a brief illness.

In the e-mail, Peters asked that everyone keep Kitterle’s family and loved ones in their thoughts and prayers.

“If you had asked me the last Tuesday of March, I would say he had a good chance of beating this,” Grush said. “He was working full days in the office. He had bad days here and there.”

Grush and his wife were with Kitterle Sunday afternoon before his final treatment was administered. In his final hours, Kitterle was still in good spirits, joking and enjoying being around people.

“Even Sunday we were joking, and it was my last visit with him and we both knew it,” Grush said.

Even in his waning hours, Kitterle had work on his mind, Grush said.

“He said he had hoped to go home and come back to the office, but that if he were coming back to the office, he knew what he wanted to do next,” Grush said.

Anne Birberick, acting department chair for foreign languages and literature, last spoke with Kitterle about one month ago.

“He was still willing to make jokes and willing to engage in friendly banter,” Birberick said. “In retrospect, the strengths he showed in our brief exchange was quite remarkable. Physically he looked like he had aged very quickly, but you could still see the sparkle of energy in his eyes and he still retained a sense of humor.”

Kitterle had a lot of energy and was always friendly, said Paul Stoddard, executive secretary for University Council.

“He is definitely someone who was happy; he had a lot of ideas he was trying to follow through on,” Stoddard said.

Grush said some of Kitterle’s major accomplishments during his time at NIU included the implementation of freshman interest groups (FIGS), improvements in the teacher certification program and implementation of the Alumni Advisory Committee.