Sunday, June 14, 2009

LoWayne Tidwell Kittinger

LoWayne Tidwell Kittinger was born in Albertville, Alabama, on May 14, 1927. When she was a young girl, her family moved to Dinuba, California. After graduation from Dinuba High School in 1945, she earned an Associate in Arts Degree from Reedley College in 1947. She continued her education at Fresno State College, graduating in 1950 with a Bachelor of Arts Degree in Journalism.

After college, LoWayne went to work for the Alta Advocate, earning $45 a week. In September, 1947, she was hired by the Fresno Bee. She worked as a reporter covering general city news, society, and women’s features.

In 1951, LoWayne move to San Francisco and took a job as an insurance underwriter with American International Underwriters. LoWayne then moved to Los Angeles in 1955 where she wrote a series of six shows for the “Puppet Playhouse” which aired on CBS and she worked on a television drama series, “The Tracers.”

On a lark, LoWayne and her college roommate, Maggie Fisher, moved to New Orleans. It was there that she met and married Sidney “Kit” Kittinger, an artist, in July, 1956. Kit and Lowayne both worked for a small movie studio painting scenery and backdrops. LoWayne also worked for a magazine publisher and an advertising agency.

Kit and LoWayne led the bohemian lifestyle of many great artists. They lived and painted in Manzanillo, Mexico, for several months. They moved to San Francisco where their career as artists continued. Then, they moved to Dinuba so LoWayne could care for her elderly mother.

During their time in Dinuba, LoWayne helped establish the first Head Start program in the area. She was a tireless advocate for the poor.

In 1967, Kit and LoWayne moved to Auberry and retired. Ever the activist, LoWayne fought to bring garbage collection service to the mountains. She was a charter member of the Sierra Oaks Senior Citizens Association. In 1988, she began volunteering at the Auberry Library and became unofficially responsible for decorating the Library’s bulletin board. She was a founding member of the Friends of the Auberry Library and she contributed books and baked goods to the FOAL’s annual book and bake sale.

After Kit’s death in 1997, LoWayne continued to work at the Auberry Library. In 2004, she obtained her first passport and traveled with friends to Quito, Ecuador, and the Galapagos Islands.

LoWayne was a notorious animal lover. Mice who ventured into her house were caught in her “Have a Heart” trap and released a mile away. She took in stray cats, found homes for stray dogs, and even cared for an abandoned horse.

LoWayne was a terrible driver. She wrecked two cars and made many Auberry residents nervous when she was on the road.

LoWayne Tidwell Kittinger passed away on Sunday, April 26, 2009. She was 82.

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