(ROANOKE) Dr. Kathleen Roberta Stitt passed away Monday, July 19, 2021, in Roanoke.
Dr. Stitt was born in Alabama on Dec. 27, 1926. She completed her bachelor's degree in food and nutrition at The University of Alabama and a dietetic internship at Case Western University. Dr. Stitt worked as a dietitian at both Case Western Reserve and Selma Baptist Hospital. She returned to The University of Alabama to complete her master's degree in food and nutrition and joined the faculty as an instructor in 1955. Dr. Stitt took a leave of absence from the faculty to complete her Ph.D. in nutrition at Ohio State University. In 1965 she returned to The University of Alabama and was promoted to professor of food and nutrition.
Dr. Stitt served as department chair of the Department of Human Nutrition and Hospitality Management for 15 years, during which time the Coordinated Program for Dietetics was implemented. She received approximately $3 million in grants to support the dietetic programs in the department. A highly respected and beloved teacher, Dr. Stitt taught thousands of students in undergraduate and graduate courses.
Dr. Stitt's research focused primarily on the nutritional status of and nutrition education for women and children. She authored over 30 publications in professional journals and directed numerous master's theses, patiently helping young researchers learn and implement the research process.
Dr. Stitt was extremely active in professional organizations, including the Alabama Dietetics Association, Academy of Nutrition (formerly the American Dietetic Association) and School Nutrition Association. She held many positions in each of these organizations, including chairing the Academy of Nutrition's Academic Requirements Committee for several years. The Academy of Nutrition honored her with the Medallion Award for outstanding service to the organization and the profession.
Dr. Stitt was a very loyal football fan of The University of Alabama. She spent many years going to home and away games with friends and family. One of the highlights of the school year for students and faculty colleagues was enjoying Dr. Stitt's homemade peach ice cream, the best you have ever eaten! As she looked back over her career, she said she was proud to have been able to teach numerous outstanding students, among them Dr. Judy Bonner, who served as president of The University of Alabama.
When she retired in 1993, friends and family members endowed a scholarship for undergraduate students studying nutrition. After retiring, Dr. Stitt continued to work, as needed, for the dean of the College of Human Environmental Sciences. The college honored her with the Jack Davis Alumni Award for outstanding professional service. Later she moved to Montgomery, where she regularly participated in exercise classes and volunteered in the local magnet school helping children read and complete math problems.
Dr. Stitt is preceded in death by her parents Mr. and Mrs. Mabrey Stitt; sister, Jimmie Lee Harwell of Montgomery; and brother, Mabrey Gerald Stitt Sr. of Roanoke. Dr. Stitt is survived by her sister, Ann Stitt Hester of LaGrange, Ga.; nieces and nephews, James Harwell, Patsy Hester McBride, Charles Harwell, Betty Stitt Finlayson, Barbara Stitt Minor, Peggy Stitt Mitchum, Tommy Hester, Kathy Stitt Potts, Gary Hester and Mabrey Gerald Stitt Jr.; 15 great-nieces and -nephews; and 29 great-great-nieces and -nephews.
Dr. Stitt's body has been donated for research and/or teaching to The University of Alabama at Birmingham. In lieu of flowers, donations may be made to the Kathleen Stitt Endowed Scholarship and mailed to the University of Alabama, Box 870101, Tuscaloosa, AL 35487.