Kenneth DeWitt, who departed this life on October 20, 2020 at 90 years old, was the son of the late Theodore and Emma DeWitt. Born on August 2, 1930, he was the oldest of nine siblings.
He was educated in the public school system of Goshen, NY, where he excelled academically. He received an Honorable Discharge from the United States Air Force in 1953; serving in the Korean Conflict where he was awarded the Bronze Star. After his military service, he continued his education at Columbia University where he received his Bachelor’s degree with honors. He earned three Master’s degrees, two from Columbia University and one from the State University of New York (SUNY). He was affectionately known by his family and friends as “The Professor”. You could depend on him to have a response to almost any question posed to him as the “walking encyclopedia”, a trait that helped win trivia contests during family cruises.
Kenneth began his extraordinary, precedent-setting teaching and administrative career in New York City where he gained recognition as a community leader and role model for the African-American community during the Civil Rights Movement. He retired as the Acting Superintendent of Schools for the Board of Education for Newburgh, NY where he completed the majority of his professional career. He impacted the lives of countless students who remained in contact and still remember him fondly to this day. After his retirement, he continued to be involved in education as an Adjunct Professor of SUNY Albany and a consultant for the Albany City School District.
He was active in the community, participating on several boards such as the Ramapo Catskill Library System (2 term president), Goshen Recreation Committee, United Way of Orange County, and the Childs Nursing Home of Albany. He also was a member of several civic organizations including the Columbia Alumni Association, Community Centers of Newburgh, Albany Boy Friends, and Sigma Pi Phi (Beta Psi Boule).
Kenneth was a joy to his family and friends. His optimistic outlook and light hearted laughter were infectious. Kenneth was proud of his family and enjoyed spending time with them, especially on the “Family and Friends” cruises, attending Broadway plays, and the annual Boy Friends picnics. He was an avid reader of the New York Times and was a diehard sports fan, with one of his favorite teams being the New York Yankees where he could be heard enthusiastically “coaching” the players.
His long list of friends was a testament to how he lived his life. He loved to learn, but best of all he loved people. He was a hometown boy who achieved greatness, but never forgot where he came from.
In addition to his parents, he was preceded in death by his two brothers, Leroy DeWitt, Sr. and George DeWitt, and his sister, Sarah “Sis” Moore.
He leaves behind to cherish his memory his loving wife of 32 years, Lillian Tillman-DeWitt; children, Kay Tillman, Deborah DeWitt-Green (Shallie), Denise DeWitt Carty (Greg), James Tillman, Jr. (Malcena Howard), and Donna DeWitt-McGee (Harry); grandchildren, James Tillman, III and Delana DeWitt Russell; great-grandchildren, Jeremiah Lea and James Kenneth Tillman; brothers, Roger DeWitt and David DeWitt (Harriet), sisters, Elaine Cunningham, Theodora “Donni” Scales, and Linda DeWitt; brother-in law, Benjamin Garland(Jeanette); sisters-in-law, Mollie Simons, Wilhelmina DeWitt, and Patricia DeWitt; a devoted nephew, Brian DeWitt (Colleen), and a host of nephews, nieces, cousins, and many friends.
Funeral services for Kenneth DeWitt are being held today at Garland Brothers Funeral Home in Albany; after the services, he will be interred at the Gerald B. Solomon Cemetery in Saratoga Springs.